Recent Blog Articles
Tics and TikTok: Can social media trigger illness?
Pandemic challenges may affect babies — possibly in long-lasting ways
4 immune-boosting strategies that count right now
If you have knee pain, telehealth may help
How to address opposition in young children
New study investigates treatment-associated regrets in prostate cancer
Minimizing successes and magnifying failures? Change your distorted thinking
Are poinsettias, mistletoe, or holly plants dangerous?
Waiting for motivation to strike? Try rethinking that
Thinking of trying Dry January? Steps for success
Ask the doctor: Why do we get shorter as we age?
Q. Why am I shrinking as I'm getting older, and is there anything I can do about it?
A. Our height is determined by the length of the leg bones, the spine, and the skull. While the leg bones and the skull remain pretty much unchanged in length after we reach adulthood, our spinal bones (the vertebrae) tend to shrink. Most of us have 24 vertebrae. They're stacked on top of one another like a roll of dimes, but (unlike the dimes) are tethered tightly to each other by fibers and muscles, so they keep us straight.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!