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Osteoporosis

Can Osteoporosis Cause a Person to Get Shorter?

02/26/2008

Question:

Can osteoporosis cause someone to loose height? I am 55 years of age. In 2003 I was 5’ 3” tall. At my doctor’s appointment in September 2007, I was 5’3 ½ inches tall. I am worried because I had an ankle bone density test and it was -1.4. What are the symptoms of osteoporosis and how is it diagnosed?

Answer:

From your note it looks as though you grew taller instead of shorter.  If that is a typo, and you are shorter, then yes, osteoporosis can result in height loss if there is compression of the vertebrae.  A more common cause of height loss in your age range is degenerative disk disease, a condition where the disks between the vertebrae compress with age.  It has nothing to do with osteoporosis.  Additionally, many women start to lose muscle tone in their spinal extensor muscles causing their upper body to start curving over (bad posture due to lax muscles).

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Response by:

Margery   Gass, MD Margery Gass, MD
Formely, Professor, Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati