ISM / JEAN-DENIS LAREDO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ISM / JEAN-DENIS LAREDO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Osteoporosis of the spine. Coloured magnetic resonance image (MRI) of the spine of a patient with osteoporosis. Near the top of the image vertebrae T12 and L1 have collapsed with compression fractures, and below them L2 and L3 are compressed. Osteoporosis describes a reduction in bone density, resulting in an increase in brittleness and a greater risk of fractures, particularly of the vertebrae and the head of the femur. Its higher incidence in women is attributed to a decline in hormone production following the menopause. A diet rich in calcium and regular weight-bearing exercise can help prevent osteoporosis.
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