Bone & Muscle Health

Bone & Muscle Health Articles

Multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a kind of bone marrow cancer. It is caused by the uncontrolled growth of a type of white blood cell known as plasma cells. Plasma cells make antibodies called immunoglobulins to fight infections. In multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells multiply rapidly in the bone marrow. They eventually invade the outer layers of the bones. This can weaken bones so much that even a small injury can cause a bone to break. The cancerous plasma cells also make a lot of immunoglobulins. This can cause the blood to become thick and sticky, and lead to the formation of blood clots. At the same time, blood levels of other antibodies drop, leaving the person open to infections. More »

Best ways to keep your bones healthy and strong

Keeping bones healthy in older age is crucial to protecting mobility and independence. One way to do that is with weight-bearing activity each week. That includes strength training or any activity that gets a person up and moving. Another way is meeting calcium requirements: 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams (mg) per day for men ages 51 and older, and 1,200 to 1,500 mg per day for women 51 and older. Vitamin D is helpful for calcium absorption, typically 800 to 1,000 IU daily for adults. Reducing risk factors for osteoporosis, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, is also important.    (Locked) More »

Osteopenia: When you have weak bones, but not osteoporosis

Like their names suggest, osteopenia and osteoporosis are related diseases. Both are varying degrees of bone loss, as measured by bone mineral density, a marker for how strong a bone is and the risk that it might break. If you think of bone mineral density as a slope, normal would be at the top and osteoporosis at the bottom. Osteopenia, which affects about half of Americans over age 50, would fall somewhere in between. The main way to determine your bone density is to have a painless, noninvasive test called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) that measures the mineral content of bone. The measurements, known as T-scores, determine which category — osteopenia, osteoporosis, or normal — a person falls into (see graphic). More »