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Height Loss in Older Men Linked to Mortality Risk

Men who shrink more than 3 centimeters have higher rates of coronary artery disease

MONDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Men who lose 3 centimeters or more in height as they age are more likely to develop coronary artery disease and have higher all-cause mortality than those who do not lose height, researchers report in the Dec. 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

S. Goya Wannamethee, Ph.D., of the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London, U.K., and colleagues studied 4,213 men whose height was measured when they were aged 40 to 59 and then measured again 20 years later. During the mean six-year follow-up period, 760 men in the sample died.

Among men who lost 3 centimeters in height or more, there was a 1.64 times higher risk of mortality compared with men who lost less than 1 centimeter in height. The increased number of deaths was attributed to cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Adjustments for age, other cardiovascular risk factors, lung function, pre-existing cardiovascular disease, albumin concentration, self-reported poor health and weight loss had only a modest impact, with an adjusted relative risk of 1.45.

"Despite a strong association between height loss and weight loss, we observed no association between height loss and cancer mortality," the authors note. "Height loss may be a marker for sarcopenia and frailty in older men," they conclude.

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