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Height loss in postmenopausal women may indicate spinal fracture

Date:
March 24, 2010
Source:
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Summary:
Loss of height in postmenopausal women may indicate a vertebral fracture, according to a new article.

Loss of height in postmenopausal women may indicate a vertebral fracture, states an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

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Height loss is common as people age and is associated with back pain. Causes include changes in the curvature of the spine, narrowing of intervertebral discs and vertebral fractures. Two-thirds of adults have back pain at any time. Diagnosing these treatable disorders, however, sparks controversy because it is not known if the benefits outweigh the harm of unnecessary radiographs.

Researchers from France conducted a study to compare postmenopausal women and analyze reasons for height loss. The study included 1779 randomly selected general practitioners who were each asked to recruit five female patients over the age of 60. A total of 8610 patients were included in the study.

"We observed a mean loss of height of 4.5 cm since early adulthood in a large population of postmenopausal women in primary care practices," write Dr. Karine Briot, Hτpital Cochin and Universitι Paris Descartes, Paris, France and coauthors. "We found that the risk of an existing vertebral fracture was significantly higher among patients with a height loss of at least 4 cm."

The authors conclude that measurement of height loss could be an accurate method for detecting vertebral fractures. Actual height of women was different from what the patients reported. General practitioners need to measure patients and not rely on estimates.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Medical Association Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Briot et al. Accuracy of patient-reported height loss and risk factors for height loss among postmenopausal women. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2010; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.090710

Cite This Page:

Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Height loss in postmenopausal women may indicate spinal fracture." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100322121107.htm>.
Canadian Medical Association Journal. (2010, March 24). Height loss in postmenopausal women may indicate spinal fracture. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100322121107.htm
Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Height loss in postmenopausal women may indicate spinal fracture." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100322121107.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

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