For over 50 years it has been suspected that there was a connection between height and heart health and a team of scientists at the University of Leicester believe that they have now found the proof.
A study of nearly 200,000 people, published in the renowned US publication the New England Journal of Medicine and apparently receiving much international interest, found that indeed the shorter you are the greater risk you have of contracting a coronary disease.
First the bad news: Apparently, for every 2.5 inches shorter you are, you have a 13.5% increased chance of suffering from a heart disease – such as a heart attack or heart failure. In other words, a 5ft tall person is 64% more at risk than a 6ft tall person.
Then the perspective: While significant, these figures should be considered in context. For instance, if you smoke you increase your risk of coronary heart disease by 200-300% and that’s a lifestyle choice while your height, of course, is not something you can change.
The study looked at 180 genes that scientists knew had some influence on our height, and during their research they found out other interesting connections such as those genes that influence height may also regulate the cholesterol and fats there are in your bloodstream which of course can also be influencers of numerous heart issues.
Although it’s not mentioned, we have to assume that this study is based on a person’s optimum height – the height their genes tell them to grow to rather than the height you end up at later on in life as you start to shrink below the brow level of sons and daughters, and are then overtaken by grandchildren!
We should stress once again that this is not something to panic about – your normal medical checks at the GP surgery will adequately review your coronary condition in the normal way and the medical profession is doing its best to advance the science of early detection. This study only focused on the increased risk of heart issues related to the height of those in the study. Of course, if you wish to allow your own height to influence you to start to live a healthier lifestyle, guiding you to exercise more and improve your diet – then we won’t stop you. Even if you are not at risk of coronary problems this would be a good way of improving your life and life expectancy.