ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Osteoporosis. Coloured X-ray image of thoracic vertebrae affected by osteoporosis. It is characterised by loss of protein matrix tissue from bone, causing it to become brittle. The dark areas within the vertebral bodies (square) show decreased bone density. When osteoporosis affects the vertebrae, the intervertebral spaces (dark) become widened and tend to appear wedged or biconcave. Women are more prone to develop this condition, after the onset of menopause, because the ovaries no longer produce oestrogen hormones which help maintain bone mass. Treatments include hormone replacement therapy, exercise and an adequate intake of calcium.
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