Garron R Hale, MD

Diplomate, American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” If you looked at healthy bone under a microscope, you would see that parts of it look like a honeycomb. If you have osteoporosis, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much bigger than they are in healthy bone. This means your bones have lost density, or mass. It also means that the structure of your bone tissues has become abnormal. As your bones become less dense, they become weaker.

For some people affected by the disease, simple activities such as lifting a child, bending down to pick up a newspaper or even sneezing can cause a bone to break. Because osteoporosis is a disease of the bones, it is important to know some basics about your bones. Your bones are made up of three major components that make them both
flexible and strong:

  1. Collagen, a protein that gives bones a flexible framework
  2. Calcium-phosphate mineral complexes that make bones hard and strong
  3. Living bone cells that remove and replace weakened sections of bone

How Bones Change and Grow
Throughout life, your skeleton loses old bone and forms new bone. Children and teenagers form new bone faster than they lose the old bone. In fact, even after they stop growing taller, young people continue to make more bone than they lose. This means their bones get denser and denser until they reach what experts call peak bone mass. This is the point when you have the greatest amount of bone you will ever have. It usually happens around age 20.

You can also think of your bones as a savings account. There is only as much bone mass in your account as you deposit. The critical years for building bone mass start before your teen years and last until around age 20.

After you reach peak bone mass, the balance between bone loss and bone formation might start to change. In other words, you may slowly start to lose more bone than you form. In midlife, bone loss usually speeds up in both men and women. For most women, bone loss increases after menopause, when estrogen levels drop sharply. In fact, in the five to seven years after menopause, women can lose up to 20 percent or more of their bone density.

Osteoporosis happens when you lose too much bone, make too little bone or both. The more bone you have at the time of peak bone mass, the better you will be protected against weak bones once bone loss begins.

About Us

Dr. Hale started practice in Scottsdale, AZ in July of 1971 with specialty of women\'s health. He is currently board certified in OB & GYN and a member of the American College of OB-GYN. His training was at a university hospital at the Oregon Center of Health Science in Portland, Oregon (rated in top 5 in the world for training of OB-GYN).