Why people become shorter in old age: explanation of scientists
Have you ever noticed that older people are usually quite short? Scientists have conducted a study that shocked us: it turns out that the spine can begin to shrink as early as the age of thirty.
Of course, there are many reasons for this disappointing trend, and the most obvious is age-related curvature of the spine. Why people become shorter in old age, the Ifl Science publication explained.
Age-related stooping is known as kyphosis, which occurs when muscle fibers shorten over the years. As a result, the muscles surrounding the spine become weaker, and we start to lose the fight against gravity, and eventually we can't walk upright.
Kyphosis is not a sentence. Curvature of the spine can be prevented at a young age by leading an active lifestyle and exercising regularly. Of course, it is easier to prevent kyphosis than to fight it. If you start exercising in old age, firstly, your spine will already be curved and it will be impossible to return it to its natural position, and secondly, the load on your back will cause severe pain.
And although stooping cannot be called an actual reduction in height, other processes associated with age will make the situation worse. Among the most significant factors in this shortening is a decrease in bone density, which is believed to be caused by a decline in estrogen and testosterone as we age.
Another reason is insufficient vitamin D and a decrease in the quality of calcium absorption by the kidneys in old age. All these factors often lead to a bone disease known as osteoporosis. Bones become porous and weaker. Doctors emphasize that even the vertebrae that make up our spine can be crushed under our own weight, causing fractures known as compression fractures.
It sounds really scary. However, you may be surprised to learn that most compression fractures are painless. As these fractures accumulate and compress more of our vertebrae, our height decreases.
This effect is often compounded by degeneration of the spinal discs, which are located between the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers. When a person reaches the age of thirty, these discs can begin to dry out, becoming less and less firm as they lose water.
Stretching will definitely not make you taller, although a healthy lifestyle can prevent excessive height loss. A diet rich in vitamin D and calcium, for example, will help bones stay young and minimize the risk of compression fractures. Regular exercise also keeps bones strong and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.