If you’re nearing 50 and find that you’re simply not as tall as you used to be, you’re not alone. That’s because height loss due to the shrinking of your spinal discs, compression fractures and poor posture often start adding up by your 5th decade.
And the process even starts speeding up in your 70s.
However, while some degree of height loss is associated with natural aging, it could also be a warning signal for your heart health and your risk of death — something that’s especially true if you’re a woman.
Every centimeter counts
While past research has linked age-related shrinking to a higher chance of death from heart disease, the connection in women has been virtually ignored.
Not too surprising, right?
Especially when you consider that women tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to anything concerning their heart.
Yet, women are also far more likely than men to experience height loss with age.
So a group of Swedish researchers finally set out to give the issue the attention it deserves.
The team combed through the medical data of 2,406 women born between 1908 and 1952. Each woman’s height was monitored between the ages of 30 and 60, and again 10 to 13 years later.
And following that second height measurement (to see if the women had shrunk), the researchers looked for the date and cause of their deaths.
Sure enough, the results demonstrated a clear link between height loss and heart risk in women.
The researchers found that:
- On average, women lost just 0.8 cm in height, but some participants shrunk by up to 14 cm in just over a decade. That’s over 5.5 inches!
- Each cm of height loss was associated with a 14 to 21 percent greater odds of death from any cause.
- Major height loss, defined as more than 2 cm, was associated with a risk more than doubling the odds of death from stroke and all types of cardiovascular disease.
- And women who lost more than 2 cm in height had a whopping 71 percent greater chance of dying from all other causes!
All of these risks held true even after taking into account other factors that could play a role like age, weight and lifestyle.
Summing up their findings, the researchers say that mid-life height loss is “is a risk marker for earlier mortality in northern European women,” and that death from stroke is the major contributor.
Staving of mid-life shrinkage
But with all of that bad news, there was good as well…
While the researchers found that losing height skyrockets women’s heart risks, there is a way to preserve those vital inches and lower cardiovascular risk at the same time.
And the answer is exercise!
The Swedish researchers found that women who participated in regular physical activity experienced less height loss (and a lower risk of death from heart disease) than the women who lost more inches over time.
So now you have one more reason to hit the gym. Stay active, stay tall!
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!