9 Secret Signs Your Bones Are in Trouble

Know the signs before it's too late.

Your nails are brittle

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Broken nails are an annoyance, but if you're noticing that your nails are breaking more often than normal it might be cause for concern. Your nails can turn brittle for a number of reasons, but the two most prominent ones are collagen and calcium deficiencies. Collagen is a protein that supports your skin, connective tissue, and skeleton. You can keep it healthy with foods, like berries, leafy greens, soy, and citrus. Calcium is a mineral that's integral to bone health—besides dairy, you can also get calcium from dark leafy greens and sardines. If you're lacking either of these skeletal superheroes, you're likely to see the negative results in your manicure.

You don't exercise

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If you spend most of your time in front of a computer and on the couch, you're probably at higher risk for developing osteoporosis. Exercise helps build not only strong muscles but strong bones as well, according to the Surgeon General. When you exercise—especially when you lift weights and do weight-bearing cardio like jogging or stair-climbing—you help preserve your skeleton. Try getting up from your desk and walking around the office at least once every hour, go on a walk or jog after work, and make time to hit the gym in the early mornings to lift weights. Just don't make this workout mistake that actually weakens your bones.

Your gums are receding

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You won't necessarily spot receding gums because it happens over years. Your gums recede as your jawbone loses strength and bone mass. Your jawbone is the anchor of your teeth, so when it weakens, your gums can detach from your teeth (yikes!). A major sign of receding gums is if you start losing teeth. As you age, ask your dentist to check up on your gum health during your routine visits. Even if you don't have gum trouble, you'll still want to keep up with preventive measures like flossing and brushing regularly; you can also strengthen your jaw by chewing gum. Find out 30 more ways to increase bone density.

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