Bone Basics That are Useful to Understand
As with most aspects of the human body, the bones that make up the skeleton are amazingly intelligent and require no input from us. Beginning as cartilage in the womb, our skeletons become a strong, flexible, and adaptive system supporting everything we do in our long lives.
An adult human body contains 206 bones in the skeleton. Bone is both light and strong; it is made from a honeycomb-like material that consists of calcium salts and protein fibers. The protein fibers are called collagen. Bone is created in much the same way as some drywall.
What exactly does this mean? If you have a hole in the drywall, you patch it up using tape that creates a fibrous grid; bone is made in much the same way. Foods that contain calcium help to strengthen bone material making your body more resistant to shocks and bone conditions.
Bones are not hollow and empty; they contain bone marrow. Bone marrow is a soft fatty tissue made up of blood vessels and various cells. There are two types of bone marrow contained in the bone, red and yellow marrow. Red marrow is made up of stem cells; yellow marrow is fat.
Red marrow contains stem cells that have the potential to grow into any cell in the body; these are essential for repairing and creating new cells in the body following injuries and accidents. Yellow marrow tends to increase as we age but can still be turned into red marrow if needed.
Bone is a tough, light material, but it can be splintered or broken quite easily – especially during a sport, fall, or accident. Another issue that affects bone health is osteoporosis; this is a common condition that can affect people of any age but tends to be prevalent in older people.
Osteoporosis occurs when the body loses too much bone density or does not produce enough bone resulting in weaker bones that can cause an increase in falls and breaks. Bones with osteoporosis have a different internal structure to healthy bone and require a treatment plan.
Like most body parts, bone grows and develops; in fact, bone is undergoing constant renovation work to ensure it is strong, healthy, and functional for the adult human. In order to strengthen, the outer layer of the bone is destroyed and replaced with new growth that forms a hard shell.
Bone doesn't start out as bone; it starts out as cartilage. Unlike bone, cartilage is light and flexible, so it's the perfect material to create a human in the womb. Once born, the cartilage begins to calcify – helped by more calcium intake – developing into a tough new bone.
Bones can be broken or fractured, but luckily the body has an effective system for dealing with this situation. First, the body reacts by initiating a phase of healing that forms a clot around the area and stimulates collagen growth. Then, collagen fibers encase the fracture to strengthen it.