DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Curved osteoporotic spine. Excessively curved spine (kyphosis) seen in an 89-year-old woman with osteoporosis (brittle bones). Kyphosis usually affects the top of the spine and may result in a hunchback. Here, osteoporosis has reduced the bone density of the spine, leading to the vertebrae collapsing. Osteoporosis arises from an imbalance between the formation and adsorption of bone. It occurs in both sexes in older age, but is far more common in women as lack of oestrogen production after the menopause leads to a reduction in bone mass. Treatments include hormone replacement therapy (for women), exercise, and maintaining a high calcium intake.
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