Spinal osteoporosis, X-ray

Spinal osteoporosis, X-ray

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Credit: ZEPHYR/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Spinal osteoporosis. Coloured X-ray of a side view of the dorso-lumbar region of the spine of a 70-year-old patient with osteoporosis (brittle bone disease). Osteoporosis causes bones to lose density and become porous and fragile. In this case, one of the vertebrae (fourth from top) has become compressed leading to curvature (kyphosis) of the spine. Osteoporosis is a progressive disease normally found in the elderly. It is four times more common in women than in men; bone loss is accelerated by the menopause. Reduction of calcium in the bones may be associated with calcification of the blood vessels. Part of the abdominal aorta is calcified (faint, bottom left).

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