During our lifetime, the density, or calcium content of our skeleton is in a state of continual change. As humans, our bones are most highly mineralized with calcium at the age of 33. From this point forward, even in the best of circumstances, our bone mineral progressively decreases throughout the remainder of life.
After age 33, both men and women lose bone calcium at a steady rate. This gradual loss of bone density is called Type II Osteoporosis and occurs at a more rapid rate in women. However, women suffer a ten year period of accelerated bone loss after menopause which is called Type I Osteoporosis.
Without treatment the typical American female has lost 33.5% of bone mineral by the age of 65. The typical American male has lost 10% of bone mineral by the age of 65. Unfortunately, this decrease in calcium results in a decrease in the overall strength of our bones. As our skeleton becomes more fragile, we are more susceptible to fracture.
Smoking seems to add to this problem. Multiple studies now verify an accelerated loss of bone mineral in men and women who smoke. Multiple theories have been advanced; however, nearly all studies have demonstrated higher rates of fracture among adults who smoke.
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