Height loss in postmenopausal women may indicate spinal fracture

Mar 22, 2010

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

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 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 in practices," write Dr. Karine Briot, Hôpital Cochin and Université 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.

Explore further: Is Australia prepared for Ebola?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Poor treatment for common vertebral compression fractures

Apr 23, 2009

The advice and treatment given to patients with vertebral compression fractures is not satisfactory. A thesis presented at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that the majority of patients still ...

Hip and back fractures increase mortality rates in people older than 50

Aug 04, 2009

Vertebral and hip fractures are associated with an increased risk of death, found a new study of 7753 people in Canada aged 50 years and older published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/press/cmaj081720.pdf. According to the results, approximately 25% of people (both men and ...

HIV patients at greater risk for bone fractures

Aug 28, 2008

HIV-infected patients have a higher prevalence of fractures than non HIV-infected patients, across both genders and critical fracture sites according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of ...

Recommended for you

Africa's uneven health care becomes easy prey for Ebola

5 hours ago

Threatened by the possible spread of an Ebola epidemic which respects no borders, Africa is divided between a handful of countries equipped to withstand an outbreak and many more which would be devastated, experts say.

Ebola case stokes concerns for Liberians in Texas

5 hours ago

The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. has been confirmed in a man who recently traveled from Liberia to Dallas, sending chills through the area's West African community whose leaders urged caution ...

Is Australia prepared for Ebola?

9 hours ago

Australia needs to be proactive about potential disease outbreaks like Ebola and establish a national centre for disease control.

Dallas hospital confirms first Ebola case in US

14 hours ago

A patient at a Dallas hospital has tested positive for Ebola, the first case of the disease to be diagnosed in the United States, federal health officials announced Tuesday.

User comments : 0