Excessive height loss in postmenopausal women (PMW) has been found to reflect low bone mass; an index helpful in predicting vertebral fractures. One hundred and sixty five women were recruited for the cross-sectional study comprising of 77 premenopausal women who served as control and 88 PMW who constituted the study group. The subjects were administered a questionnaire after obtaining informed consent. While their height, weight, waist circumference and serum testosterone levels were determined utilizing standard methods. The results were presented as mean ± SD, while data was analyzed with Student’s t-test, one way ANOVA, and correlation for comparing association; p<0.05 was considered significant. The postmenopausal women had a significantly lower mean height (158.56 ± 7.02 cm) than the premenopausal women (162.25 ± 6.44 cm), p<0.001. There was a decrease in mean postmenopausal height with increasing duration of menopause, however, it was not statistically significant; 158.71 ± 7.32, 158.40 ± 7.34 and 158.41 ± 6.41 cm, respectively for women who were 1-5, 6 -10 and > 10 years postmenopausal. The age at menopause and the body mass index demonstrated a positive correlation with the height of the menopausal women. While the serum testosterone and the body mass of the postmenopausal women demonstrated a negative correlation with their age at menopause. It is concluded that the postmenopausal women had a significantly lower height than the premenopausal women (mean height difference of 3.69 cm) and were at risk of vertebral fractures; critical levels predictive for vertebral fractures range between 3 – 6 cm losses in height. We recommend longitudinal studies to determine the prospective height loss across the menopause transition in Nigerian women and thus indicate the critical levels predictive for vertebral fractures for Nigerian menopausal women.
Key words: Bone, bone mineral density, height loss, menopause, menopausal height, vertebral fractures, Zaria.
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