The common wisdom regarding the fractures and breaks that are sadly common in very old individuals is that they result from hard knocks against – and heavy loads placed on – bones that are made fragile by osteoporosis. A younger person would shrug off a fall or a load that will cause catastrophic structural failure in the bones of an individual in the advanced stages of osteoporosis. The research here suggests that this view is subtly wrong in several important details, and that the progressive harm caused by osteoporosis is in fact much worse than thought. It is an interesting and plausible viewpoint, though one that needs corroborating physiological data.
Either way, what can be done about osteoporosis? The proximate cause is an imbalance between the activities of cells that deposit bone, osteoblasts, and cells that break down bone, osteoclasts. Both are constantly active, but the various forms of change and damage that accompany aging cause the activity of osteoblasts to decline relative to the activity of osteoclasts, and thus bone becomes ever weaker. Senescent cell accumulation and chronic inflammation are in the list of deeper causes for osteoporosis, as is true of many other age-related conditions, but they are not
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