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Woman Diagnosed With Rare 'Vanishing Bone Disease': Here's What Happened To Her Bones

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A 44-year-old woman was diagnosed with a rare condition known as "vanishing bone disease," and from its name, you already know what happened to the woman's bones.

Unfortunately for the patient, there is currently no treatment available for the vanishing bone disease, so doctors could not do anything as the disease claimed her shoulder and arm.

What Happened To The Woman With Vanishing Bone Disease?

True to its name, the vanishing bone disease caused some of the bones of the woman to disappear, despite her being previously healthy before the condition appeared.

The case of the vanishing bone disease, also known as the Gorham-Stout disease, was recently published in the BMJ Case Reports. According to the researchers, it all started when the woman reported increasing pain and a reducing movement range in her left shoulder.

An MRI revealed a lesion on her humerus, which is the long bone of the upper arm. The doctors thought it could be cancer, but a biopsy returned negative results. The pain, however, persisted, and when she had another biopsy months later, a benign blood vessel tumor was discovered.

Unfortunately, the woman's ordeal did not end there. The pain stayed for a year, leading to more tests. Finally, after about 18 months since she first went to the doctor about her painful shoulder, the woman was diagnosed with Gorham-Stout disease. The doctors arrived at the diagnosis because her humerus and ulnar, a bone in the forearm, looked like there were disappearing on X-rays.

What was happening sounds like something out of a science-fiction movie. The woman had an abnormal growth of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels that infiltrated the bone tissue. This caused her bones to break down, with blood vessel tumors replacing the disappearing bones.

There are currently no treatment options for Gorham-Stout disease, which has only been reported 64 times. The cause of the condition is uncertain, but it is believed to be caused by an error in the development of a person's lymphatic system.

Protecting Your Bones

The woman had no way to protect her bones from Gorham-Stout disease, but for everyone else, they should do what they can to keep their bones healthy and strong.

That task, however, is growing increasingly difficult. A recent study revealed that taking Vitamin D and calcium supplements might not be enough to protect your bones, while a separate study linked air pollution to a higher risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. Prehistoric women, apparently, had even stronger bones compared to today's athletes.

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