Once your parents or grandparents reach a certain age, you may have noticed that they are getting shorter in height. If you have ever been curious as to exactly why this happens, the team of OnlyMyHealth spoke to Dr Vikrant Gosavi, Consultant – Endocrinology, Manipal Hospitals, Pune.
Why Do You Get Shorter With Age?
“The loss of height typically takes place due to loss in bone density femur, tibia, spine, and ankles. Your height usually starts reducing around 65-70 years of age, and the cumulative height loss is around one-fourth or half an inch of height,” said Dr Gosavi.
“The cause for age-related height reduction is three-fold,” explained Dr Gosavi as he listed:
- With age, your muscle tone and muscle mass go down. According to Solent University, this phenomenon is called sarcopenia. So the strength with which your spine was held erect is reduced and hence leads to a height-reducing hunch.
- As you get older, the discs between your spine start degenerating. These discs are a padding between each vertebra. These discs get dehydrated with advancing age, flatten, and eventually cause height loss.
- Finally, osteoporosis is another major reason that leads to a loss in bone density and causes height shrinkage.
Osteoporosis Causes Height Loss
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases shared that osteoporosis is a bone disease that leads to reduced bone strength, increasing the risk of fracture. “Significant height loss of up to 1.5 inches is an indication for osteoporosis screening. It is a red flag that needs to be checked as soon as possible,” suggested Dr Gosavi.
However, this does not mean that if you have lost significant inches of height then you have osteoporosis for sure. It is just one indication that you need to be vigilant about.
Dr Gosavi concluded that the loss of height with age is a natural phenomenon, just as the loss of vision, hair, muscle mass, and skin elasticity. However, if this height loss is more pronounced and extreme, then you need to consult a healthcare professional to get screened for harmful underlying causes.