Taller people are more at risk of serious health conditions, new study warns

A new study has found a surprising link between how tall you are and an increased risk to certain health conditions

Health conditions increased by height
A number of health conditions may be present for those which are taller, warns study

Our height is one of those things that is out of our hands – and so too are the risk factors that go with it.

Height is not typically considered a risk factor for diseases.

However, past research has shown correlations between how tall someone is and their likelihood of experiencing a number of health conditions.

Whether these links are based on a biological basis or due to other factors has remained unknown in previous research.

According to a new study, your height could be a strong indicator about your risk to a number of serious health conditions.

How tall or short you are as an adult is largely due to genes inherited from your parents.

However, there are a number of other factors that could impact your height.

Leg and foot ulcers may be more present in taller people, says a new study


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From environmental factors, nutrition, socioeconomic status and demographics; a number of factors could determine your eventual height.

For these reasons it has often been difficult for scientists to determine a connection between height and disease risk, until now.

In the study, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, height as a factor being associated with multiple common conditions was further investigated.

Researchers looked at possible connections between height and various diseases.

The team used data from the VA Million Veteran Program of more than 250,000 adult men.

The results confirmed previous findings that being tall is linked to a higher risk of a number of health conditions.

The new study found a link between height and peripheral neuropathy – damage to the nerves on the extremities


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According to the study, these health conditions included varicose veins and arterial fibrillation, but taller people had a lower risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The research also found new associations between greater height and a higher risk of peripheral neuropathy, which is caused by damage to nerves on the extremities, as well as skin and bone infections, such as leg and foot ulcers.

The study authors concluded that “height may be an unrecognised but biologically plausible risk factor for several common conditions in adults.”

The study also showed height increases the risk of asthma and non-specific nerve disorders in women but not men.

It further bolstered the claim that height may be an unrecognised but biologically important and unchangeable risk factor for several common conditions, particularly those that affect the extremities, according to researchers.

It may also be useful to consider a person’s height when assessing the risk and disease surveillance, they say.

Taller women may have an increased risk of asthma, the study found


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“I think our findings are a first step toward disease risk assessment in that we identify conditions for which height might truly be a risk factor,” explained Dr Sridharan Raghavan.

He added: “Future work will have to evaluate whether incorporating height into disease risk assessments can inform strategies to modify other risk factors for specific conditions.”

Fortunately, there are a number of risk factors we can control that can strongly decrease our risk of serious health outcomes.

These include adopting a healthier way of eating, drinking less frequently and quitting smoking.

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