MEDICAL NEWS TODAY – A study that followed northern European women found that considerable height loss in middle age has associations with a more than twofold increased risk of dying from a stroke.
The authors propose that doctors could use height loss in early and middle adulthood to identify women at high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), including stroke.
The findings suggest that regular physical activity may help prevent the early onset of height loss.
People tend to maintain their height from the end of puberty until their early 50s when it starts to decline slowly. Causes of height loss include:
- shrinkage of the discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column
- spinal compression fractures as a result of osteoporosis (loss of bone density)
- changes in posture with aging
Height loss accelerates from around 60 years of age.
Research suggests that people who lose a lot of height are more likely to have low bone mineral density, vertebral fractures, and vitamin D deficiency.
Interestingly, people who live at higher latitudes are more prone to osteoporotic fractures, possibly due to less sunlight exposure.
The skin needs sunlight to make vitamin D, which helps strengthen bones.
Studies have found that rapid height loss — in mixed cohorts of men and women — has associations with a greater overall mortality rate and increased risk of (CVD).
“There appears to be a relationship between cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis,” said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine and medical director of the NYU Women’s Heart Program.
Speaking on behalf of the American Heart Association (AHA), Dr. Goldberg told Medical News Today that the physiological mechanism behind the link is unclear.
“Proposed causes are frailty and decreased endurance as a marker of CVD risk,” she said.
She added that low levels of physical activity increase the risk of CVD, osteoporosis, and muscle weakness, leading to falls and disability … READ MORE.