Osteoporotic spine, X-ray

Osteoporotic spine, X-ray

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Credit: MIRIAM MASLO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Osteoporotic spine, coloured X-ray. The spine is seen in side view, with the front of the body at right. It is seen to be curved, bowing out from top right to centre left then back right again. This is due to a loss of bone mass in the vertebrae of the spine. Normally, vertebrae show up as solid rectangular blocks on an X-ray. Here they are pale and irregular in shape. In women, the loss of bone mass is due to demineralisation after the menopause. Calcium salts are normally laid down in bone, a process assisted by the hormone oestrogen. After the menopause the levels of this hormone drop, and bones become weaker. Hormone replacement therapy can help to reduce the effect, and calcium supplements may also be helpful.

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Keywords: back, biological, biology, bone, bones, brittle bone, column, condition, crumbled, crumbling, curved, demineralisation, demineralised, diagnostic, diagnostics, disease, disorder, dowager's hump, elderly, female, gerontology, healthcare, human body, kyphosis, medical, medicine, menopause, old, osteoporosis, post-menopausal, purple, radiography, spinal, spine, vertebra, vertebrae, weak, weakened, woman, x-ray, x-ray machine, xray

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