Your bones help you move, give you shape and support your body. They are living tissues that rebuild constantly throughout your life. During childhood and your teens, your body adds new bone faster than it removes old bone. After about age 20, you can lose bone faster than you make bone. To have strong bones when you are young, and to prevent bone loss when you are older, you need to get enough calcium, vitamin D and exercise.

There are many kinds of bone problems:

  • Osteoporosis makes your bones weak and more likely to break
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta makes your bones brittle
  • Paget's disease of bone makes them weak
  • Bone disease can make bones easy to break
  • Bones can also develop cancer
  • Other bone diseases are caused by poor nutrition, genetic factors or problems with the rate of bone growth or rebuilding

Joints are places where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee. Over time, a swollen joint can become severely damaged. Most kinds of arthritis cause pain and swelling in your joints. Some kinds of arthritis can also cause problems in your organs, such as your eyes or skin.

Your muscles help you move and help your body work. Different types of muscles have different jobs. There are many problems that can affect muscles. Muscle disorders can cause weakness, pain or even paralysis.

There may be no known cause for a muscle disorder. Some known causes include:

  • Injury or overuse, such as sprains or strains, cramps or tendonitis
  • Genetics, such as muscular dystrophy
  • Some cancers
  • Inflammation, such as myositis
  • Diseases of nerves that affect muscles
  • Infections
  • Certain medicines

The Facts:

  • By the age of 20, the average woman has acquired most of her skeletal mass.
  • Each year an estimated 1.5 million individuals suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture.
  • Optimal bone, joint and muscle health requires optimal nutrition and regular exercise.

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