Don’t be surprised if you’re finding yourself losing height as you age. Unfortunately, height loss is nothing but a natural process that many of us must adjust to, just like greying hair and deepening wrinkles. The truth is, majority of people will slowly shrink between ages 30-70, with women losing 2 inches while men 1 inch. Men lose height less prominently since they have higher muscle mass and generally stronger ones.
Our height loss can be attributed to out bones shrinking in size and density as we age. However, the most dramatic change occurs in our spine. We all know that our spine is an important part of our musculoskeletal system. It is made up of 24 bones (vertebra) held together by ligaments and muscles. The spine’s main job is to protect the spinal cord as well as support our body’s range of motion. In between the vertebrae are jelly-like discs with high water content that serve as shock absorbers, preventing the bones from rubbing against each other and causing damage.
When we age, our discs retain less water and becomes less effective in doing its job. Over time, the loss of moisture and the weight of our body will compress the discs. This compression process that leads to height loss is called degenerative disc disease. Despite what the name implies, this is not considered aa disease but a natural change that happens as we age. Our spine is more prone to damage as its padding lessens. These disc composition changes can result in osteoarthritis, herniated discs, or spinal stenosis.
Aging of the spinal discs is natural and irreversible. For some individuals, the impact of degenerative disc disease is minimal. In more serious cases, it can seriously impact your quality of life and may require surgery. Generally, losing a few inches over many years is nothing to stress over. However, when height loss is dramatic or sudden, there could be a serious underlying medical condition. Make sure to go to Spine Center of Texas to have it diagnosed and treated.