You notice that you’re now seeing eye-to-eye with a once taller parent or, perhaps, you’ve lost an inch of height yourself. Age-related height loss is largely caused by a loss of bone density as you age, and there are ways to safeguard your bone health to prevent or slow down shrinking.
As primary care physicians, the team at Healthstone Primary Care Partners provides medical services for every stage and aspect of your life. From geriatric care to women’s health, we aim to help you navigate your health through preventive care.
One area in which you can practice prevention is age-related height loss. Let’s take a look.
Loss of height is usually attributable to loss of bone. Throughout your life, your bone constantly remodels itself, producing more bone to replace bone tissue that breaks down. As you get older, the scales start to tip in favor of bone loss, which means that your production of new bone isn’t keeping up with the natural breakdown of bone tissue.
As the loss of bone density progresses, it can become full-blown osteoporosis, a condition that places you at far more risk of bone fractures and also leads to a loss of height.
While bone loss affects both genders, far more women are affected by osteoporosis — 10 million people in the United States have osteoporosis, and eight million are women. This gender difference is because the bones in women are already smaller, and women lose bone-supporting estrogen as they pass through menopause.
While some bone loss is perfectly normal as you age, our goal is to provide tips to help you maintain your height. These tips include:
Your bone tissues register activity and remodel themselves accordingly. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, your bones may not regenerate as readily because they’re not registering much use. To combat this, it’s important that you get up and move and concussive activities are better, such as walking or running. Weight-bearing activities are also great for preventing bone loss.
Calcium and vitamin D are critical for bone health. Men over 50 should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, and women should get 1,200 milligrams. While supplements are great, you can also get calcium through your diet, such as dairy products, leafy greens, beans, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna.
Both men and women can get vitamin D from the sun, which prompts your body to produce the vitamin, but you can also get it through your diet. Fatty fishes, egg yolks, and vitamin D-fortified products like orange juice and soy milk are great sources.
Certain lifestyle changes you can make will go a long way toward preserving your bones and your height. For example, if you smoke, add height loss to the long list of reasons you should quit.
If you’re carrying extra pounds, this places more stress on your bones and can contribute to height loss as you get older. We know that losing weight is easier said than done, but we’re happy to help you develop a weight-loss plan.
Because women are more prone to osteoporosis due to the loss of estrogen, they can turn to hormone replacement therapy to help support bone health.
As you can see, there are many ways to stand taller as you age.
If you have more questions about bone health, please call one of our offices in Weston, Pembroke Pines, or Davie, Florida, or request an appointment online today.