A new study shows that height can be an independent predictor of your risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE) aka a blood clot.
Researchers published the study in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics.
Using the Swedish National Registry Database, the study is based on a cohort of male conscripts (n=1,610,870), born in 1951 to 1992 without previous VTE, was followed from enlistment (1969–2010) until 2012. Another cohort of first-time pregnant women (n=1,093,342) from the medical birth register, without previous VTE, was followed from first pregnancy (1982–2012) until 2012.
Results from the study show that:
- “Compared with the tallest women (>185 cm) and men (>190 cm), there was a graded decreased risk by lower height for both men and women”.
- “The risk was lowest in women and men with the shortest stature (<155 cm and <160 cm, respectively)”.
One limitation of the study was that the researchers did not have information on the participants’ childhoods, home environments and diets. However, they used educational level as a measure of lifestyle factors.
“Height is not something we can do anything about” said lead researcher Bengt Zöller, M.D., Ph.D., “However, the height in the population has increased, and continues increasing, which could be contributing to the fact that the incidence of thrombosis has increased.” he said. “I think we should start to include height in risk assessment just as overweight, although formal studies are needed to determine exactly how height interacts with inherited blood disorders and other conditions.”
“The bottom line regarding this recent study, whether you are a taller or shorter individual, you must be aware of all the additional lifestyle factors that may increase your risk for blood clots, such as smoking or a sedentary lifestyle,” Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, an attending physician of internal medicine at NYU Langone Health.
“We have no control over our height, but we certainly can all take the appropriate measures in making healthy lifestyle choices to reduce the risk of various conditions.”
Blood Clots By The Numbers
In the United States, blood clots are thought to kill about 60,000 to 100,000 people annually, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Across Europe, there are an estimated 500,000 deaths related to blood clots each year, according to a 2014 review paper in the journal Thrombosis Research.
Image credit for blood clot graphic (cover image): here.
News Source: CNN article, ‘Blood clot risk — and other problems — might be tied to how tall you are’.
Study Source: journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics.
Study Authors: Bengt Zöller, M.D., Ph.D.; Jinguang Ji, M.D., Ph.D.; Jan Sundquist, M.D., Ph.D., and Kristina Sundquist, M.D., Ph.D.