Hey Doc, Why Am I Shrinking?
While losing height with age may be common, it is not inevitable. Estimates vary, but on average people lose ¼ to ½ inch every decade after age 40 or 50, with women generally losing more than men. Moreover, the greater the shrinkage, the greater the risk of hip and other non-vertebral fractures.
Several studies have found that people over 65 who lost at least 2 inches in the past 15 to 20 years were at significantly higher risk for hip fracture than those who shrank less. This makes sense because if we are not taking regular care of our spine with chiropractic, it will begin to break down. This breakdown will make us shorter as well as more at risk for fractures. We must start taking care of our spines as children and build bone with weight-bearing exercise to avoid shrinkage in our later years.
For those who did not take these steps when they were young, it is not too late. Start getting regular chiropractic care now; do weight-bearing exercises; consume adequate calcium, vitamin D and other bone-healthy nutrients; do not drink alcohol to excess; and above all, do not smoke. A Belgian study published in Gerontology found that people who did moderate aerobic exercise throughout their lives shrank less than those who were sedentary all their lives or who stopped exercising after age 40.
Remember, while losing height with age may be common, it is not inevitable. In fact, people who get regular chiropractic help frequently report height gain.
Dr. Joanne Haupert, Doctor of Chiropractic, practices at Inspired Healing, located at 4858 E. Broadway, Tucson. Connect at 520-584-0343 or InspiredHealing.org.