Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis

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Credit: ALFRED PASIEKA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Osteoporosis. Computer artwork of an X-ray that is comparing a normal human spine (left) with the spine of a patient who has osteoporosis (right). The bony processes (at right of each spine) are the bumps felt through the skin on a person's back. The spine is a series of compact bones called vertebrae. In osteoporosis, a condition that is most common in menopausal women, loss of bone mass weakens the internal bone structure. This causes collapse of the vertebrae, leading to curvature of the spine (kyphosis) and consequent loss of height.

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