Author: Chan, Wai-man
Title: Lumbar disc degeneration in an asymptomatic Chinese population : correlation with age, gender, body mass and occupation
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1999
Subject: Lumbar vertebrae -- Diseases
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Multi-disciplinary Studies
Department of Optometry and Radiography
Pages: vii, 79 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: Lumbar Disc Degeneration (LDD) is one of the primary causes of low back pain (LBP). Degenerative changes, such as disc herniation and severe disc bulging, may lead to nerve root or spinal cord compression. Previous studies have focused on the prevalence and factors affecting LDD . It has been reported that age, gender, body mass and occupation are associated with LDD. These studies had certain limitations and were confined to Caucasian subjects. Findings may be different in Chinese, as research has indicated there are significant skeletal differences between Caucasians and Chinese. In this study, one thousand five hundred lumbar discs from 300 Chinese subjects (aged 18 to 77 years) were examined with the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Disc degeneration was graded from I to IV using observational MRI assessment by two raters. The overall prevalence of lumbar disc degeneration was 65% (71% in females and 55% in males). Age was positively correlated to the degree of LDD. The degree of LDD in females was higher than that in males in all age groups and gender was significantly correlated to the degree of LDD. A greater increase of LDD in females aged 51 to 60 years may be related to post-menopausal osteoporosis. There was no substantial change in the degree of LDD in subjects with different body mass. This may be due to the small sample size of obese subjects and the narrow variation of body mass index in the studied population. A statistically significant association was found between physical workload and the degree of LDD. With increasing physical workload, there was an increase in the degree of LDD. Furthermore, it was noted that housewives had a higher degree of LDD when compared with females of other occupations (clerks and nursery attendants).
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