(WYTV) – Our bones are actually living organisms that build and break down, but when the body loses more bone than it makes, then we can have problems.

Broken bones are not only painful, but in adults over 50, and more commonly in women, they can be a sign of a serious disease. That’s osteoporosis.

Developing healthy bones, on the other hand, should start early in life and include routine exercise and a diet rich in protein and calcium.

“Anybody over the age of 50, unless you were told not to take calcium, need about 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. That is a combined diet and supplement,” said Dr. Ejigayehu Abate, who works in Endocrinology at the Mayo Clinic.

Osteoporosis screenings should start between 50 and 55 years old.

For people with darker skin tones, vitamin D is another important factor.

Vitamin D comes from the sun, and the darker your skin tone is, the less vitamin D it absorbs, so that causes bone loss.