Investigators have said that loss of height which happens as people catch up with age is fine, but one needs to guard against undue loss of height, which could have major repercussions on health, increasing the chances of early death.
A recent study indicated that a loss of about 3 centimeters or more in height of men as they age is associated with a greater risk of death, as compared to men who lose less than a centimeter. This risk was thought to be largely due to cardiovascular problems and respiratory infections rather than cancer.
To investigate further into this, 7,735 men who were between the age group of 40 to 59 years were selected for the study during the period from 1978 to 1980. They were tracked until twenty years later when they were between 60 and 79.Only 4,213 members in the group had survived and were subjected to a follow up examination.
The examination revealed that the average height loss was 1.67 centimeters. Researchers found that nearly 760 deaths had occurred due to various causes. The group was later segregated into four height categories during the re-screening. The study results established that men who had lost nearly three centimeters or more carried a 64% chance of any cause mortality risk. The study did not have any one direct answer to the reasons for height loss being one of the major risk factors for death, although researchers indicated that osteoporosis could have had a role in it.
"The increased mortality risk was already seen in men with a height loss in the range of three centimeters to four centimeters and was not solely attributable to extreme height loss," the researchers concluded.