Peak Bone Mass : An important concept to be taught to all teenagers.!

physiologicl change of bone mass

Peak bone mass is the maximum amount of bone mass attained by a person by the end of skeletal growth. It indicates a combination of both size of the bones as well as their density.

So, why is it important to teach our kids and teenagers about this?

Because prevention is better than cure.!!

There is a tremendous amount of increase in bone mass from birth to the young adult age. The  bone mineral deposition accelerates many fold during the puberty for 3 to 4 years and the peak bone mass is attained usually by the early twenties.

After the peak bone mass is achieved, there is a gradual reduction in bone mass during the adult age by around 0.5 to 1 % per year. This bone loss accelerates in older age and is much faster in women after menopause, reaching a loss of 2 to 5% bone mass per year in the initial 5 to 7 years after menopause due to lack of oestrogen.

So, those who reach a lower peak bone mass in early twenties are going to end up with a much lower bone mass in their old age beyond the 50s. The weaker bone in old age can fracture easily (Osteoporosis) and affects their quality of life as well as increased mortality rate. This is a lot more significant in women than in men.

physiologicl change of bone mass

Looking at the picture above, it is evident that reaching a higher peak bone mass can prevent or minimize the risk of osteoporosis and related fractures in the old age.

The best way to prevent osteoporotic fractures in old age is to try and reach a higher peak bone mass in the young age. This can only be achieved by sensitizing the population about this concept so that the growing children and their parents understand this and act towards achieving the maximum possible peak bone mass.

That is something that should be taught in the schools to spread the awareness amongst the youngsters, especially girls. The government should run awareness campaigns to educate the people about the timing of peak bone mass so that they don’t miss the bus!.

How can one achieve a higher Peak None Mass during the growing age ?

  1. Ensuring adequate dietary intake of calcium.
  2. Getting enough sunlight exposure to generate good amounts of Vitamin D as well as taking diet rich in Vitamin D.
  3. Regular physical activity in form of exercises, sports etc.
  4. Avoiding things detrimental to bone health like smoking or alcohol intake.

With an huge ageing  population, we are staring at a staggering proportion of osteoporosis related problems in India in the coming years

Preventing a repetition of the same in the next generation is probably the best we can do to reduce the burden of osteoporosis in the coming decades. That is why it is important to teach the mothers and kids the concept of Peak Bone Mass!.

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About the author

Dr Phani Kiran Surapuraju is a practicing Spine Surgeon in Chennai, India. Trained in one of the top three Medical colleges (Maulana Azad Medical College) in the country. National Board of Examination certified Spine Surgeon. 12 years of Post-MS experience in Orthopaedic Surgery, with 9 years of exclusive experience in Spine Surgery. Special interest in spinal deformity correction and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery. Fellowships in Spine surgery, including management of complex spinal disorders. (FNB, Univ Of Hong Kong and Univ of Bonn, Germany. )
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