As we age, we may expect to see certain changes in our bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissue. There was a time when the general consensus was that these changes were unavoidable. However, more recent studies have shown that there are steps you can take to prevent certain musculoskeletal changes or conditions that are common with age.
Some examples of conditions that are more likely to occur with an aging musculoskeletal system are osteoarthritis (the wearing down of cartilage that cushions areas where bones meet), sarcopenia (loss of muscle), and osteoporosis (loss of bone density).
What Aging Does to the Muscles, Joints, and Bones
Aging affects the muscles, joints, and bones in various ways, including:
- Muscles. Muscle fibers typically diminish in size, strength, and number as you age. Your muscle tissue is slower to heal and grow. Furthermore, the muscle tissue that is generated when we are older tends to be tougher and more fibrous. For this reason, you may feel weak and fatigued, you lose muscle tone and also the ability to contract your muscles.
- Joints. Cartilage is what lines your joints and give cushioning to bones. Synovial fluid also surrounds the joints and serves as lubrication, enabling fluidity of movement. But as you age, the joints slowly wear down and become thinner. Your ligaments also lose flexibility. As a result, your joints may feel stiff and your range of movement may be limited.
- Bones. Beginning at 30, the density of your bones begins to diminish. Decreased bone density accelerates once women reach menopause. Bones that are less dense become more fragile, brittle, and are prone to breaking. This is why broken bones are so common among the elderly. The bones in your body are living tissues, and aging changes their structure. Also common with age is the loss of bone tissue. Being inactive, undergoing hormonal changes, and a loss of calcium and minerals all contribute to lower bone mass.
Healthy bones have the appearance of a honeycomb if viewed under a microscope. Bones with osteoporosis are much more porous, with larger spaces and holes. Osteoporosis translates to having a porous bone. An estimated 54 million Americans have osteoporosis.
Once you reach the age of 50, it is important to have regular bone density tests to check the health of your bones. This allows you to take action to prevent osteoporosis at the earliest sign of weakening in your bone structure. Without regular screenings, many people are unaware they have osteoporosis until they suffer broken bones as the result of something as minor as sneezing or tripping. Osteoporotic bones usually break in the spine, hip, or wrist.
Osteoporosis not only limits your mobility, it can affect your psyche and emotional well-being, too. Screenings allow you to learn about your risk of developing the condition over the next 10 years, giving you ample time to prevent progression of the disease.
Find Out Your Osteoporosis Risk Now
At our osteoporosis clinic in St. Peters and O’Fallon, Missouri, we offer cutting-edge detection and defense against osteoporosis. We can predict your likelihood of developing osteoporosis over the next 10 years.
At Advanced Bone & Joint, we work directly with your regular doctor or specialists to correct any nutritional or hormonal deficiencies that make you prone to developing osteoporosis.
If you have any questions about our services, call Advanced Bone & Joint at (636) 224-4192 or you can request an appointment now.