Have you noticed you are decreasing height as you age? The best way to know if your height is decreasing is to have someone measure your height.
But if you haven’t measured your height yet, then there are some signs you may have observed that can indicate your height is declining.
Some of the signs include:
‣ You have to adjust your rearview mirror in the car.
‣ Your pants seem longer than usual.
‣ Your friends may mention you seem shorter, although this is unusual, as most people do not observe height. If a friend notices you are shorter, it is usually because they haven’t seen you in awhile.
‣ Your shirts or blouses seem longer and you have to tuck them into your pants or skirts differently than before.
You probably don’t need researchers to tell us that between the ages of 30 and 70, most people will lose at least an inch and up to two inches. At the age of 80, they say that you can expect another inch to somehow melt away.
Why Does Height Decrease As You Age?
The decrease in height is associated with the strong possibility that you have developed osteoporosis. With osteoporosis, there are two ways your height will decrease:
- The vertebral bones collapse.
- The discs in your spine collapse.
When The Vertebrae Collapse, You Lose Height
When the bones become thinner, it leaves them susceptible to collapse.
When bones in the spine collapse, the vertebrae may collapse on top of themselves, as if they are imploding.
This is where the loss of height comes from.
A normal vertebral body could be 1.5 to 2.5 inches in height in its natural state. But when it collapses, the decreasing height amounts to up to the total height of the vertebrae.
The vertebrae may end up flat as a pancake, or worse yet, collapse to one side, leaving the other side of the vertebrae intact. This ends up causing a lot of pain in the spine and sometimes, immediate inability to stand up straight.
The good news though is that doctors have now created new technology whereby they can replace a vertebrae that has collapsed with a cage like device that simulates a vertebral body.
They add bone fragments – either artificial or your own shavings from other bones – and new bone grows in place of your old collapsed vertebrae. It’s a quick solution to the problem although of course, there is pain and recovery time to consider.
Degenerating Disks Cause A Decrease In Height
Another reason why your height decreases is that your discs in your spine degenerate. Instead of a nice gel-like donut between your vertebral bodies, the disk has been worn away to almost nothing.
A disk could be one-fourth to one-half inch tall but when it degenerates, it can be reduced to nothing – the vertebral bone is contacting the vertebral bone underneath it.
The problem when the disks degenerate is that one won’t degenerate by itself; disk degeneration usually occurs at multiple disk levels.
When this occurs, you could have the equivalent of ¼ inch times 8 disks or a total loss of two inches just from the disks collapsing.
Doctors have an answer for this as well. They can now replace the degenerated discs in your spine with a gel-like replacement that would result in an automatic increase in height.
However, will they do it for every single disc in your spine if you are suffering from collapse of all the disks? Probably not.
The easiest solution is really prevention of the degeneration from occurring in the first place. Making sure you are eating correctly is the first step for this!
Are you getting enough chicken cartilage or silica in your diet? Both these aid in the repair and synthesis of disks in the body.
Health advocates have also used gelatin to rebuild disks. The gelatin that is used is the plain, unflavored gelatin that comes in a 4 to 8 ounce canister. The dosage is about two tablespoons twice daily.
Is This Decrease In Height Detrimental To Your Health?
Unfortunately, decreased height as you age is correlated with health problems. If you’re a man and your height decreases more than 2 inches in two years, and you’re 70 years old or older, then it’s very possible you could break a hip from a fall.
In fact, the researchers predicted a 54% increased risk of this happening. For some reason that is unknown, if women lose the same two inches in two years, their risk is only 21%.
But there are other associations to health you may not be aware of. Who would have thought that a decrease of height as you age of 1.2 inches over about 20 years would be associated with a 64 percent risk of death?
Or a 46% increased risk of developing heart disease? Yet, that is what the American Association of Retired Persons reported for men who were studied.
Height decreases as you age are not fun to deal with. Don’t fret about the statistics. Just get to work and prevent height decreases as you age with proper nutrition.