DR Rob Hicks

Why do we get shorter as we get older?

Dr Rob Hicks, Spring Chicken GP tells us:

Rob HicksChanges in body structure as we age are usually responsible. For example, with increasing age the cartilage between joints becomes worn out. Also, the gel within the discs, which act as shock-absorbers in between the vertebrae of the spine, dries out such that the spine is more compressed. With osteoporosis – brittle bone disease – bone is lost and fractures often occur, particularly of the spine, resulting in a reduction of height and also a more pronounced curve in the upper back, often called the ‘dowager’s hump’.

With increasing age we tend to lose muscle mass and gain fat too. This in turn can lead to weakness and so a decrease in height.