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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Old Geezers Really Do Get Shorter

     Vision, hearing, memory and hair are a few things that tend to disappear as we get older. 
     Another thing on the list is height. In fact, according to some research people can begin shrinking as early as their 30s! Men can gradually lose an inch between the ages of 30 to 70, and women can lose about two inches. After the age of 80, it’s possible for both men and women to lose another inch. Why? 
     Shrinking too fast can be an indication of a much serious problem. Losing one to two inches within a year may mean a person is at a higher risk for spinal and hip fractures as well as heart disease in men. If this occurs, you should consult your doctor. 
     There are some habits that can help prevent losing height. Avoid slouching, engage in physical activity, quit smoking, quit drinking alcohol, avoid excessive amounts of caffeine, avoid extreme dieting, avoid taking steroids and avoid poor nutrition. In fact, a good diet reduces the risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain cancers. 
     The fact is though, if you imagine that you are getting shorter you probably are. When the discs between our vertebrates lose fluid they flatten a bit and our vertebrates come closer together and that makes our spine a little shorter.
     Additionally, the arches of our feet end to flatten a bit as we age. Then, too, beginning as early as age 30, age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia (the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength), can cause us to lose as much as 3-5 percent of muscle mass each decade. These weakened torso muscles can cause stooped posture, making us appear shorter. 
     How much do we shrink? On average, we shrink about a quarter to a third of an inch (some estimates put it as high as half an inch) per decade for every decade after 40. Thus, men will get about 1.2 to 1.5 inches shorter and women will lose up to 2 inches, by age 70. And, if you’re blessed to make it to age 70, that gradual loss becomes even more rapid. It's possible to end up one to three inches shorter when you were at your maximum height. 
     This shrinkage can come with a psychological price especially for men who tend to put more of a premium on height than do women. The consensus is that tall men are seen as leaders with more prestige and better health, while tall women are perceived as being smarter. In that case loss of height could cause a psychological problem. 
     Losing height does not mean a person will weigh less! Those lost inches may cause your BMI, a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight, to shift. However, this is not necessarily a reason to panic or go on a diet, since various studies say that a slight increase in BMI that its based solely on shrinkage doesn’t much matter. 
     Bottom line...if you're over 30, you're probably getting shorter.

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