by Alfred M. Faulkner, DO, PC on November 30, 2021Your bones are living tissues that rely on good health to rebuild continuously. When you’re young, your body adds new bone tissue faster than it’s removed, but as you get older, you lose bone quicker than your body can replace it. That’s why it’s critical to lead a healthy, active lifestyle as you get older. A combination of regular exercise and a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can strengthen your bones. Unfortunately, these tips are not always enough to avoid low bone density. Several diseases can wreak havoc on the integrity of your bones, making you more susceptible to fractures. Dr. Alfred Faulkner is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who can evaluate your bone density with a DEXA scan. If you have experienced a broken bone from a fall or situation that would typically not cause so much damage, one of these diseases could be at play.1. OsteoporosisOsteoporosis is a common medical concern that affects more women than men and often occurs after menopause. This bone disease occurs when your bone mass decreases along with mineral density, weakening your bone quality and structure and making our bones more likely to fracture.Osteoporosis is often a “silent” disease, with few symptoms until a bone breaks. It can weaken any bone, but the ones that usually suffer damage early include the wrist, spine and hip. These fractures may happen from simply bending or coughing. You may be able to prevent osteoporosis and low bone density by quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular weight-bearing exercise.An estimated 10.2 million people in the United States live with osteoporosis.2. Osteogenesis ImperfectaOsteogenesis imperfecta is nicknamed “Brittle Bone Disease” and is a genetic disorder that weakens the bones and makes them easily susceptible to fractures. The condition may also cause brittle teeth, hearing loss, a curved spine and weak muscles. It may be present at birth and is caused by poorly functioning genes that affect collagen production. (Collagen is a protein that helps keep your bones strong and healthy.)There is no cure for osteogenesis imperfecta, but treatments such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine, mobility aids and surgery may improve quality of life.An estimated one in 20,000 people live with osteogenesis imperfecta, making it a rare or “orphan” disease.3. Paget’s DiseasePaget’s disease is a chronic condition that makes your bones grow larger and weaker. This bone disease disrupts the process of replacing old bone with new bone growth, causing you to lose more bone tissue than your body can make. As Paget’s disease progresses, the process is switched, with new bone forming faster than the old bone is removed — except that the new growth is not formed correctly, creating softer, weaker, misshapen bones.The condition often affects just one or a couple of bones, such as the skull, spine, femur (thighbone), tibia (lower leg bone) and pelvis. It may come with no symptoms initially, though you could experience bone pain, inflammation or arthritis in the joints surrounding the affected bone tissue. Paget’s disease makes you more susceptible to broken bones due to improper bone growth. Treatment may control the progression.Paget’s disease affects an estimated 1 to 2 percent of the U.S. population. Environmental and genetic factors may play a role, but the cause of Paget’s disease is unknown. However, scientists have isolated genes that can indicate your risk for the condition.Vitamin D deficiency, fibrous dysplasia, bone cancer, infection and certain metabolic disorders also affect bone health. Don’t ignore bone or joint pain for too long as many of these conditions are best treated early.Contact the Michigan Bone Doctor for Your AppointmentIf you are experiencing bone pain or believe you may have low bone density, contact Dr. Faulkner in Dearborn or Jackson today to schedule your appointment.