ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Osteoporosis. Coloured X-ray of the head of a femur thigh bone diseased with osteoporosis (brittle bone disease). The ball of the femur (at right) articulates with the hip socket (not seen). In this section through the bone, affected regions appear spongy (blue, pink). Osteoporosis causes a loss in bone density and bones become brittle, thinner, and can easily fracture. When the upper femur is affected fractures of the femur neck (at centre) are common. Osteoporosis is most common in women after the menopause. This is because their ovaries no longer produce oestrogen hormones which help to maintain bone mass. The aging process itself also causes bones to lose density.
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