People, and particularly women, shrink as they get older. This shrinkage, however, could lead to an increased risk for heart disease.
A recent study from Scandinavia has found that height loss in women is associated with an increased risk of death from heart attacks and stroke.
But it mattered how much height loss occurred. Most people will get a little shorter with age, but researchers found that every 0.4 inches of height loss increase the risk for early death by about 17.5 percent. Major height loss (more than 0.8 inches) was associated with a 77 percent increase in risk.
Researchers followed 2,400 Swedish and Danish women born between 1908 and 1952. Their height was checked between 30 and 60 years and again 10 to 13 years later. The date and cause of death were monitored for 17 to 19 years.
On average, women lost 0.3 inches. However, it ranged from 0 to 5.5 inches.
So, how do you stop yourself from getting shorter and boosting the risk for heart disease?
A multi-faceted approach may work best. The two most important factors are likely physical activity and proper nutrition.
Making sure bones stay dense is very important. That means eating plenty of calcium-rich foods and making sure you’re getting enough vitamin D every day. Vitamin K and magnesium are also important for building and maintaining strong, dense bones.
Exercise can also help maintain height. Weight-bearing exercise, in particular, helps keep bones strong. Muscle can also promote better posture to keep you standing taller, longer.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, these two factors also contribute to heart health and are associated with a reduced risk for heart disease and stroke.
Paying attention to your height may help you reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Next time you’re measuring your growing children, slide in there to get your measurements!