How does height affect health and are there specific diseases associated with it? It turns out that yes, but it is difficult to clearly determine whether it is better to be a tall person or a short one.
We usually do not think about whether our height affects the risk of developing certain diseases. The factors we take into account are genes, taking care of ourselves, etc. However, it turns out that whether we are tall or short can also affect our health.
How does height affect health?
Is it better to be tall or short? When it comes to health, there is no clear answer to this question. A genetic study conducted by the US Department of Veteran Affairs found that many common diseases may be determined by a person’s height. According to the study’s lead scientist, Dr. Sridharan Raghavan, “it makes a significant contribution to understanding how height is associated with various clinical conditions, from an epidemiological perspective.” The researcher and his team analyzed medical and genetic data from almost 3,000 veterans. Researchers concluded that a person’s height correlates with as many as 127 health problems.
However, the study itself did not indicate whether tall or short people are more likely to suffer from various types of diseases. It depends on the type of disease. It is also important that the study only found a correlation between height and disease, not cause-and-effect relationships.
What diseases are associated with taller height?
Scientists have observed that greater height is associated with a lower risk of hypertension, high cholesterol and coronary heart disease. However, there is a higher risk of atrial fibrillation, venous disorders (including varicose veins), peripheral neuropathy and blood clots.
Tall people also have an increased risk of:
inflammation of connective tissue,
Tall people are also more likely to suffer from foot deformities. In turn, tall women are more likely to suffer from asthma. “I think our results represent a first step toward better disease risk assessment because we identify disorders for which height may actually be a significant risk factor,” Dr. Raghavan noted. “Future research will need to evaluate whether taking height into account in assessing disease risk may have implications for strategies to modify other risk factors for specific conditions,” the researcher added. It will also be important in the future to discover the mechanisms that currently contribute to the conclusions drawn.
Growth and lifestyle diseases
In turn, researchers from the University of Tübingen, based on studies described in the literature, noticed that taller people have a lower risk of death from circulatory diseases and diabetes. However, they have a higher risk of death due to cancer. “Epidemiological data show that for each additional 6.5 cm of height, the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases decreases by six percent, while the risk of death from cancer increases by four percent,” said Prof. Matthias B Schulze, author of the analysis.