GLOSSARY of Osteopenia and Osteoporosis
and Terms Related to Bone Density

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P |
Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

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Abdominal hysterectomy Surgical removal of the uterus or womb through an incision in the abdomen.
Actonel® Trade name for risedronate, a bisphosphonate approved for the prevention and treatment of post-menopausal osteoporosis. Produced by Procter and Gamble Pharmaceuticals and Aventis Pharmaceuticals.
Absorptiometry
see also ‘densitometry’
absorptiometry - osteoporosis video glossary dictionaryAbsorptiometry is a test that measures how much of an x-ray exposure is absorbed by the bone. The results can be useful in comparing bone density against an expected ‘normal’ value.
These numbers are placed on a graph or chart, and used to demonstrate the ‘T-Score‘ and ‘Z-Score‘.

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Aerobic Literally, means “with oxygen”. Commonly used to describe a level of exercise that increases the body’s demand for oxygen. Aerobic exercise requires more oxygen in the muscle to process or ‘burn’ stored body fat, so it is often related to weight-loss, although its general purpose is to improve overall fitness and general health. Aerobic exercises include many activities such as walking, jogging, dancing, stair climbing, swimming, etc. Continuous, rhythmic exercise that uses the large muscles of the body long enough to increase heart rate, respiration rate.
Alendronate Alendronate is classified as a bisphosphonate drug. Alendronate sodium is the chemical or generic name for the bisphosphonate drug Fosamax®, manufactured by Merck and company. Alendronate comes as a tablet and a solution (liquid) to take by mouth. Despite the serious questions and known risks associated with bisphosphonates, they are marketed heavily by the manufacturers and they have become one of the most widely used drugs in modern society.

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Bilateral salpingo-oophorectory The surgical removal of both ovaries and both fallopian tubes.
Birth control pills
seeOral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives (birth-control pills) are used to prevent pregnancy.
Bisphosphonates A group of drugs – manufactured chemical compounds – that interfere with the normal process of ‘resorption’ or breaking down of old bone cells in preparation for their replacement with new bone cells. There are a number of these drugs that are being investigated to see whether they can stop bone loss. Fosamax® is in this group of drugs.
Bone densitometry
Measurement of bone density in small defined sample area; usually measured with x-ray.
Bone density
The amount of bone mineral in any given sampled volume of bone.
Bone mass; bone mass density; BMD The amount of bone mineral in a sampled volume of bone. This term is often used interchangeably with ‘bone density’.
Bone
The structural material of the body’s skeleton system. Formed from collagen – a soft protein that creates a strong flexible net or matrix, and hard mineral salts of calcium and phosphorus that attach to the collagen matrix to give it strength and rigidity.
Bone Remodeling The continuous process of breaking down old bone cells and rebuilding or replacing the old bone cells with new bone cells. The first phase – breaking down old bone by cells called ‘osteoclasts‘ – is called ‘resorption‘. The second phase – building new bone by cells called ‘osteoblasts‘ – is called ‘formation’.

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Caffeine Naturally-occurring stimulant found in coffee and some teas; added as a chemical to soft drinks.
Calciferol Ergosterol or provitamin D2 – found in plants and yeast.
Calcifediol Another name for 25-hydroxyvitamin D3; a form a vitamin D produced in the liver.
Calcimar® A trade name for salmon calcitonin, an injection approved by FDA for post-menopausal treatment of osteoporosis. Produced by Rhone-Poulene Rorer.
Calcitriol Another name for 1,2,5 dihydroxy-vitamin D, a form of vitamin D produced in the kidneys.
Calcium The mineral in the body which is the most abundant. Major constituent of bone. Calcium bonds with other minerals including phosphorus to build the hard structural cells of bones. Calcium is necessary for the nerve system to function and other critical life functions.
Calcium carbonate A calcium-containing rock, often crushed, powdered, and pressed into pills. Very cheap to produce and very profitable for the manufacturers, it is sold as a calcium supplement. Absorption by the human body is reported to be less than 4%. Interferes with normal stomach acidity and digestive processes.
Calcium citrate A man-made form of calcium used in calcium supplements.
Calcium lactate A type of calcium that occurs naturally in dairy milk.
Calcitonin A natural hormone secreted by special cells in the thyroid gland that inhibits bone loss. Calcitonin inhibits bone resorption. Synthetic calcitonin is used to treat patients with osteoporosis; it may slow bone resorption.
Calderol® Brand name for a prescription form of 25 hydroxy-vitamin D3 manufactured by Organon Pharmaceuticals.
Cancellous bone The inner, sponge-like center of bone is called ‘cancellous’ bone. The smooth, hard, outer layer of bone is called the cortex, or cortical bone.
Cervical spine The seven bones – vertebrae – in the neck
Change of life Phrase that refers to menopause
Cholesterol Naturally-occurring fatty substance in the body from which some hormones are made.
Cholelithiasis Medical term for gallstones
Ciba Pharmaceuticals Drug company that makes Estraderm® – estradiol transdermal patch – used in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Climacteric Signs and symptoms of estrogen changes that occur around the time of menopause.
Colles’ fracture Wrist practure usually resulting from a fall, commonly seen associated with osteoporosis.
Compression fracture A collapse or compression of bone. Usually found in vertebral bodies in low-trauma or no-trauma events, related to weakened bone structure from osteoporosis.
Cortical bone The smooth, dense, hard, outer layer of bone is called the cortex, or cortical bone. The inner, sponge-like center of bone is called ‘cancellous’ bone.
Corticosteroid Hormonal substances naturally produced in the adrenal gland. Also used to describe a group of drugs that duplicate these substances. Cortisone and prednisone are two well-known versions of these drugs.
Crush fracture Commonly referring to a collapse of a vertebra – a spinal bone – often related to fragility osteoporosis. Can also happen from traumatic injury such as a piano dropping on your foot. See also Compression Fracture.
Cyclic treatment regimen Intermittent episodes of treatment.

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Densitometry Refers to the variety of methods used to test bone density, and to the bone density measurement tools and process
DEXA; DXA Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry. A type of bone-density testing equipment that uses x-rays from two-x-ray tubes to measure bone density of a small area of bone. After one of the manufacturers began to describe their equipment as ‘the gold standard’, the medical community began to believe DXA was the only method available; conflicts remain between all the manufacturers as to which equipment is most accurate.
Didronel® DETAIL
Dorsal spine The middle back, the 12 vertebrae between the neck and the lower back. Also known as the ‘thoracic spine’, these are the vertebrae where the ribs attach.
Dowager’s Hump One of the most common visible signs of late-stage osteoporosis. Multiple bones in the thoracic spine become fragile over time and eventually the body of the vertebra – the block that supports the weight – collapses because it is unable to support the weight. These are known as ‘compression fractures’, and create a condition where the curve in the middle back is greatly increased.
Dual photon absorptiometry A type of bone-density testing that uses a radioactive isotope to measure the bone density. It was the forerunner for DEXA, and is rarely used now. Often abbreviated DPA.

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Endometrial hyperplasia A pre-cancerous condition of the endometrium or lining of the uterus.
Endometriosis A condition in which endometrial tissue (the lining of the uterus) is found in areas other than the interior of the uterus. This abnormal tissue can cause bleeding and pain.
Endometrium The lining of the uterus or womb.
endorphins Chemical substances produced in the brain that may act as the bodies own natural pain killers.
ERT Abbreviation – Estrogen Replacement Therapy.
Estrace® Oral estrogen tablet manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb as estrogen replacement. Contains 17-beta estradiol.
Estraderm® Estrogen patch manufactured by Ciba as estrogen replacement. Contains 17-beta estradiol.
Estradiol One of three primary estrogens produced by the ovaries.
Estratab® Trade name for esterified estrogen manufactured by Solvay Pharmaceuticals.
Estriol One of three primary estrogens produced by the ovaries.
Estrogen Class of female sex hormones produced by the ovaries. There are several types of estrogen known, such as estriol, estradiol, and estrone.
Estrone One of three primary estrogens produced by the ovaries.
Estrone sulfate The chemical name of estrogen used in Ogen®, an oral estrogen tablet manufactured by Abbot Laboratories.
Evista® Trade name for raloxifene, a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM), for treatment of osteoporosis, manufactured by Eli Lilly®.
Extension exercises Regarding osteoporosis: exercises in which the spine is arched backwards, temporarily reducing pressures on the vertebral body (the weight-bearing ‘block’ of a vertebra.)

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Fallopian tube Tube that carries the egg from the ovary to the uterus
Femur The large long bone of the leg whose upper end forms the ‘ball’ part of the hip joint – it fits into the ‘socket’ of the hip at the hip joint.
Fibroids Fibrous lumps of tissue, usually benign, commonly used to describe lumps in the uterus
Flashes (or Flushes) Sudden sensation of intense warmth, ‘hot flash’. These are common in monopausal women, and can be related to hormonal changes taking place.
Flexion exercises Exercises where body parts tend to get closer together. In the case of the spine, this refers to exercises in which the spine bends forward from the waist and the spine becomes more curved or rounded. These exerceises are often not recommended for women with osteoporosis.
Fluoride Flourine is combined with another element such as sodium to become more stable compound, such as sodium fluoride. Sodium fluoride has been shown by many scientists to be harmful to the human body.
Fosamax® The trade name for alendronate, manufactured by Merck. Used in the treatment of osteoporosis
Fracture A break in a bone. Usually refers a an interuption in the dense cortex (outer layer of bone) because these are more easily identified with common tools such as x-ray. A fracture can be inside a bone as well, without an interruption of the cortex, especially on a microscopic level. A fracture can be present and still be unidentifed depending on size or extent, on location in or on a bone, or the type of bone involved.
FSH Follicle Stimulating Hormone. A hormone that is made in the pituitary gland that stimulates the development of the follicle in the ovary, which will ultimately release an egg.
FDA Food and Drug Administration

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Gold Standard On-going dispute between manufacturers of bone density machines regarding which one is the best. Each producer insists theirs is the ‘gold standard’ of all the testing machines.
Gonad Medical term for the reproductive glands of either a man or a woman. ‘Gonads’ can refer to either ‘ovaries’ or ‘testes’.
Gonadotropin Hormones that stimulate the production of estrogen in the ovaries or testosterone in the testes.
Gynecologist Physician who specializes in diagnosing, recommending treatment, and treating conditions of a woman’s reproductive system.

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HDL HighDensity Lipoprotein; the type of cholesterol commonly known as ‘good’ cholesterol.
Hip Fracture This usually refers to a fracture in the the ‘neck’ of the femur, the upper part of the thigh bone just below where the ‘ball’ joint of the femur meets the ‘socket’ of the hip or ilium bone. This fracture is particularly hurtful because it requires prolonged bedrest; during bedrest, bone loss is generally accelerated.
Hormone A natural chemical produced in one organ of the body that controls or affects the functions of other organs in the body.
Hot Flashes A feeling of intense warmth from within which can develop suddenly. It often awakens a woman at night. The cause is changes in hormone levels usually related to menopause.
HRT Hormone Replacement Therapy. This term generally implies the use of both estrogen and progesterone synthetic replacements in combination.
Hyperplasia Hyper = ‘more’ or ‘too much’; plasia = ‘growth’. A condition in which the cells begin to grow abnormally. In some cases, this is a pre-cancerous condition.
Hypertension Medical term for high blood pressure.
Hysterectomy Surgical removal of the uterus or womb only. Often misused to describe the removal of the uterus and the ovaries.

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Idiopathic Describes a disease or condition in which the cause is unknown.
Impact-loading exercise Any exercise that causes an impact or jolt in the bones. Jogging and skipping rope are two high-impact examples. Walking is considered an impact exercise as well, although with less impact; it has a similar effect on stimulating bone growth. Swimming is an example of a non-impact exercise, with different methods of stimulating bone growth.
Isokinetic Strength training or resistance exercise in which the speed of movement against a resistance remains constant
Isometric Strength training or resistance exercise in which a muscle is tensed or contracted but does not cause motion. An example would be pushing hard against a brick wall – the muscle is working, but not moving.
Isotonic Strength traing or resistance exercise in which a muscle shortens and lengthens as it contracts.

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Lactose Naturally occurring sugar found in milk.
Lactose intolerance An allergic response to lactose in dairy products. A condition in which lactose causes abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea after being consumed.
LDL Low Density Lipoprotein. This is the type of cholesterol commonly considered to be ‘bad’ cholesterol.
LH Lutenizing Hormone. A hormone produced in the pituitary gland in the brain that signals the ovary to release the egg.
Libido The human sex drive.
Low bone mass Commonly called osteopenia, ‘low bone mass’ is any measurement of bone mass or bone density that is lower than that of a ‘normal’ 25-35 year old woman.
Lumbar spine The five vertebrae or individual bones in the lower back.
Luteal phase The second half of the menstrual cycle after the egg has been released from the ovary.

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Magnesium Mineral necessary for a variety of normal body functions, including growth and development of the boney human skeleton.
Mammogram X-ray procedure to detect breast cancer.
Mead Johnson Laboratories The world’s second-largest baby formula maker
MPA – Medroxy progesterone acetate A synthetic progesterone use in hormone replacement for post-menopausal women. Also used as a contraceptive and to control abnormal menstrual bleeding.
Menarche The beginning of the menstrual functions and periods.
Menopause The ending of the menstrual functions and periods.
Merck Pharmaceutical company that manufactures bisphosphonate alendronate, trade name Fosamax®.
METS Stands for ‘MET‘abolic equivalentS. It is a measure of how hard the heart and lungs must work during an activity or exercise.
Miacalcin® Trade name for synthetic salmon calcitonin, manufactured by Sandoz Pharmaceuticals. Available by prescription for treatment of osteoporosis, and is available as injection or nasal spray.
Mrems A measure of radiation exposure to a patient during an X-ray procedure. It is pronounced ‘milli-rems’ The measurement is in thousandths of a REM. If you live on the East coast of the USA, you get about 50-60 milli-rems of radiation a year from natural sources. Some of it comes from radioactive material naturally in your body.

If you live in Denver, built on top of granite and a mile a high, you get about 150 milli-rems a year. You get about 40 milli-rems every time you get a whole mouth x-ray of your teeth. (With thanks to WildWildweather.com)

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Nocebo The term nocebo (Latin for “I will harm”) was chosen by Walter Kennedy, in 1961, to denote the counterpart of one of the more recent applications of the term placebo (Latin for “I will please”); namely, that of a placebo being a drug that produced a beneficial, healthy, pleasant, or desirable consequence in a subject, as a direct result of that subject’s beliefs and expectations. A ‘nocebo’ is used along with the suggestion that it will cause certain unhealthy or undesirable signs, symptoms or responses. See also ‘sugar pill’. See also ‘Placebo’
Normal bone mass A bone mass or bone density measurement with a T-score that is in the ‘normal’ range of that found in a 25-35 year-old woman.

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Ogen® Name for a mform of oral estrogen replacement. Contains estrone. Made by Upjohn Pharmaceuticals. Used for prevention of osteoporosis
Oophorectomy Surgical removal of the ovaries. See also ovariectomy.
Oral contraceptives
Oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives (birth-control pills) are used to prevent pregnancy.
Os calcis Medical term for the ‘calcanius’ or ‘heel bone’.
Ossification The process of creating bone. Commonly refers to normal bone-building; can also be used to describe a change from a softer tissue into bone. An example would include cartilage or scar tissue that undergoes ossification – turns into bone – this can happen after an injury, from excessive wear-and-tear on a joint (arthritic ossification) or from nutritional imbalances (diet high in acid-foods).
Osteoarthritis Inflammation of joint, usually painful, with swelling. Most common form of arthritis.
Osteoblast A cell that builds and deposits new bone as part of the normal life of bone.
Osteoclast A cell that removes and breaks down old bone as part of the normal life of bone.
Osteomalacia Condition in which the bone quality and strength is less than normal; bones are commonly known as ‘soft ‘. Related to nutritial deficiencies.
Osteopenia Refers to a decrease in bone density when compared to the ‘normal’ group aged 25-35.
Osteoporosis Condition in which bone density is lower than those of a ‘normal’ group aged 25-35. Low bone density can be related to fragilty fractures.
Ovary Female reproductive gland. Estrogen and progesterone are made in this gland.
Ovariectomy Medical term for the surgical removal of one or both ovaries. See also ‘oophorectomy’.

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Parathyroid hormone A hormone secreted by the parathyroid gland, which controls the level of calcium in the blood and kidneys by regulating the actions of the osteoblasts and osteoclasts. The parathyroid hormone and Vitamin D work together in the body to maintain an appropriate level of calcium in the blood.
Partial hysterectomy Surgical removal of the upper part of the uterus. The mouth of the uterus, or cervix is not removed in this procedure; rarely performed now. Often misused to describe the removal of the entire uterus without the removal of the ovaries.
Patch (‘the patch’) Slang for the estrogen patch Estraderm® (estradiol transdermal system).
Peak bone mass Maxiumum density of bone, commonly reached between the ages of about 25 to 35.
Pill (‘the pill’) Slang for ‘oral contraceptive pills’.

Pituitary gland Small gland in the brain responsible for the production and coordination of several hormones, some of which control the production of estrogen and progesterone by the ovaries.
Placebo An inactive substance that is substituted for a medication in research studies. It is generally made to look like the active medication in the study, and is used for comparison purposes in research. Commonly called a ‘sugar pill’. See also ‘sugar pill’. See also ‘Nocebo’
Post-menopausal osteoporosis Bone loss caused by changes in estrogen levels that occur naturally at menopause. Also called ‘Type I’ osteoporosis.
Premarin® Oral estrogen replacement the contains conjugated equine estrogen. Synthesized from (and named after) ‘Pregnant mare urine’. Manufactured by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.
PremPhase®, PremPro®, Cenestin®, Premarin® Brand names of conjugated estrogens
Primary osteoporosis Also called Type I osteoporosis, usually thought of as post-menopausal osteoporosis.
Progesterone Hormone produced in the ovaries after ovulation occurs.
Progestins Synthetic or manufactured chemicals that act similarly to progesterone.
Provera® Brand name for medrosy-progesterone acetate manufactured by Upjohn Pharmaceuticals. Synthetic form of progesterone.
Puberty Age at which the reproductive organs develop into maturity.

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Quadriceps Large muscle bundle on the front of the thigh, made up of four muscles.
QCT – Quantitative computerized tomography Diagnostic equipment and technique by which radiographic x-ray beams measure the trabecular bone density of the spine; the results are analyzed by computer.

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Radiation Regarding bone density, usually refers the bone density measurement equipment, most commonly a source of x-rays and the amount of diagnostic radiation used in the test.
Radiographic Absorptiometry X-ray equipment used for bone density measurement of the hands and wrist.
Radius One of two bones (radius and ulna) that are the skeletal structure of the forearm.
Reproductive organs Primary reproductive organs are the ovaries in women, and the testes in men; they produce the eggs and sperm. They are primary hormone producers that contribute to the secondary sexual characteristics of women and men.
Resorption Part of the normal process of bone remodeling; old bone is ‘re-absorbed’ in order for new bone to be put in its place. Resorption should take place at the same pace as rebuilding; if old bone is removed faster than new bone replaces it, bone loss of osteopenia or osteoporosis occurs.
Resistance exercise A form of strength training. Exercise in which the muscle contracts and pulls against a weight or other resistance. Used to increase muscle strength and bone strength.
Risk factors Risk factors for osteopenia and osteoporosis include poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, and smoking.
Rocaltrol® Trade name for prescription from of 1,25 dihydroxy-vitamin D; manufactured by Roche Laboratories.

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Salmon calcitonin Calcitonin naturally occurring in salmon. Synthetic salmon calcitonin is available as an injection or nasal spray; used in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Secondary osteoporosis Type II osteoporosis includes bone loss from factors other than normal estrogen changes at menopause.
Senile osteoporosis Also called ‘Type II osteoporosis’. Bone loss caused by factors attributed to aging, including calcium deficiency from poor nutrition.
Single-photon absorptiometry or SPA Bone density test that uses a radioactive isotope to measure the bone density or bone mass in the wrist or heel. Abbreviated as SPA.
Slow-release sodium fluoride Was suggested to increase bone density; out of favor as fluoride as a possible treatment for osteoporosis seems not to work as eary researchers expected.
Standard deviation Mathematical calculation that describes how far a score is from a ‘normal’ score.
Steroids Refers to many different chemical compounds that have the same basic chemical structure.
Strength training Also called resistance training. Uses weights or some other resistance against which the muscles push or pull.
Surgical menopause A surgical intervention that creates menopause by removal of the ovaries in a woman who was still having menstrual periods.

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Target heart rate The heart rate to be reached during aerobic exercise to obtain cardiovascular benefits from exercise.
Testosterone Male sex hormone.
Thiazides A diuretic drug used to treat high blood pressure or swelling.There was some thought they might be useful in the treatment of osteoporosis by reducing the amount of calcium lost in the urine.
Thoracic spine The middle back, the 12 vertebrae between the neck and the lower back. Also known as the ‘dorsal spine’, these are the vertebrae where the ribs attach.
Trabecular bone The middle portion of the bone, protected and covered by the smooth, dense outer cortical layer or cortex of bone. The trabecular bone is a porous and sponge-like bone structure.
Trace minerals We require minerals in very tiny or ‘trace’ amounts. Scientists aren’t sure what levels of minerals we need each day. Plants need nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, chlorine, carbon, boron, sulfur, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, copper manganese, and molybdenum, some of which are commonly replaced through fertilizers to provide maximum crops through minimum investment. However, humans are known to additionally need calcium, sodium, bromine, chromium, iodine, silicon, selenium, beryllium, lithium, cobalt, vanadium and nickel.
Transdermal Refers to the delivery of medicine through the skin.
Type I osteoporosis Refers to post-menopausal osteoporosis
Type II osteoporosis Refers to senile osteoporosis.

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Ultrasound Diagnostic test used to assess bone density at the ankle or wrist. Widely used in the 90’s because it was fast and inexpensive, it is rarely used anymore because of an unacceptable error rate and unacceptable reproducibility; that means a person can have a test, read the results, take the test again and get a completely different result. Ultrasound is not approved for year-to-year comparison measurements.
Urethra Male or female; the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body.
Uterus The uterus (Latin word for womb) is a major female hormone-responsive reproductive sex organ of most mammals, including humans. The fetus develops within the uterus during gestation. The term uterus is used consistently within the medical and related professions; the older common term, womb, used often in everyday usage.

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Vagina Passageway from the uterus to the outside of the body.
Vertebra Individual bone in the spine. ‘Vertebra’ – ver-tee-br-ah – refers to a single bone of the spine; ‘vertebrae’ – ver-tee-bray – refers to more than one. There are 7 vertebrae in the neck (cervical spine); 12 vertebrae in the mid-back (dorsal or thoracic spine); 5 in lower back (lumbar spine).
Vitamin D A nutrient required for formation of bone cells and bone strength.

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Weight-bearing exercise Exercise that requires the bones to support the weight of the body against gravity. Walking is weight-bearing exercise. Swimming is not considered a weight-bearing exercise.
Weight training Use of dead-weights such as barbells or dumbbells to increase muscle strength and endurance.
Withdrawal bleeding Usually refers to uterine bleeding that occurs after hormone replacement is stopped.
Womb Medical term is ‘uterus’; the word ‘womb’ is used in common language.

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X-Ray A wave of energy than can pass through living tissue and expose a photographic plate. X-rays are used as a diagnostic tool and can help differentiate bone densities.

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Zinc A trace mineral needed in the human body to maintain normal function and health.
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Terms Beginning With Numbers

17-beta estradiol Generic hormone used in Estraderm® and Estrace®. Estrace® is an oral estrogen tablet manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb as estrogen replacement. Estraderm® is a patch manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; the patch is placed on the skin; it releases estrogen through the skin into the bloodstream.

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