Blood clot risk and other health problems may be tied to height: Study

07 September 2017

The risk of developing blood clots and other health problems may be linked to one's height, says a new study. According to the study published yesterday in the journal Circulation: Cardiovasular Genetics, height could be an independent predictor of one's risk for venous thromboembolism, or VTE, also known as blood clots. Men and women who are shorter have the lowest blood clot risk, which appeared to increase with height, according to the research.

"Height is not something we can do anything about," lead study author Dr Bengt Zöller, associate professor at Lund University and Malmö University Hospital in Sweden, said in a news release.

"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."

Blood clots are thought to kill around 60,000 to 100,000 people annually, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Europe the corresponding number is estimated at 500,000 deaths, related to blood clots each year, according to a 2014 review paper in the journal Thrombosis Research.

The wide-ranging study involved over two million siblings. The study established a direct link between height and venous thromboembolism - a serious condition where a clot forms in a vein.

The researchers found that the risk became greater with a person's height. 

Men 6ft 2in or taller ran a 65 per cent greater risk that those shorter than 5ft 3in.

The risk could increase with pregnancy in women carrying a child for the first time and who were at least 6ft tall. Such women were 69 per cent more at risk than those women shorter than 5ft 1in.

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