Bone and cartilage are considered as supporting connective tissues that provide a strong supportive framework for the body. These tissues contain various amounts and types of matrix, fibers and cells.
Every single person has a skeleton made up of bones to allow mobility, protect our internal organs and perform other important functions. Bones are living tissues which renew themselves continuously, growing and changing all the time like other parts of our body. Calcium mineral is essential for healthy bone and provides its hardness and whiteness.
Cartilage basically consists of two components: water and matrix - mainly collagens and proteoglycans. Different types of cartilage have slightly different properties that make each type the most appropriate to fulfill its function. One type of them - articular cartilage is a slippery tissue that covers the ends of apposing long bones in our joints. It permits the almost friction-free movement of the bony ends against each other.
Bones play many roles in the body. Unfortunately, bones begin to deteriorate as people get older. Even as early as age 40, bones are no longer as strong as they once were . This increases the risk of osteoporosis, “the silent epidemic”, which can go unnoticed for years until the sufferer experiences a fall causing bone fracture. It is a global problem in which about ten million Americans suffered from it
Osteoporosis or "porous bone" is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone structure. Osteoporosis weakens bones, leading to the increased risk of fracture, particularly of the spine, wrist, hip, pelvis and upper arm.
Bones are protected by the tough but flexible cartilage. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over each other for movement and preventing them from rubbing against each other.
However, Cartilage is a very organized structure and therefore makes it particularly difficult to restore or duplicate once it is damaged or lost. Injured, inflamed or damaged cartilage can cause pain, swelling, limited movement and may also lead to joint damage and deformity. Being overweight, aging, and tears and injuries can induce cartilage degradation.
Whatever your age, your habits can affect the health of your bone and cartilage for the rest of your life. Now is the time to take action.
Getting enough calcium helps to build and keep strong bones. Eating foods that are high in calcium such as salmon and some dark-green leafy vegetables, and taking dietary supplements can be helpful .
Your bodies absorb calcium with the help of vitamin D. People are able to make vitamin D if they are exposed to the sun. You can also get vitamin D from food such as eggs, fatty fish and cereal.
Maintaining a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese places increased stress on joint cartilage and increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Maintaining a normal weight is a great way to promote healthy joints and comfortable movement.
One of the best ways to build and maintain healthy bones and cartilages is through exercise. This can be achieved by regularly stretching the joints for maintaining flexibility and “weight bearing” exercises. Walking, jogging, playing tennis, and dancing are examples of weight-bearing exercises.
Eating fruits and vegetables is also good for bones and cartilages. Smoking, drinking too much alcohol or lack of exercise can put you at risk on joint and bone degradation.
Not everyone will get osteoporosis, but the risk of osteoporosis grows as you get older and we need to be aware of this.
. IOF – Outreach and Education: 06; June 2005.