Healthy Living: Blood clot risk & other problems might be tied to height

Can your height determine certain health risks?

Begin tall has its benefits and according to a new study, its drawbacks. The research shows that taller people have a greater risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), the medical term for blood clots which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kill up to 100,000 people in the U.S. every year.

Researchers looked at data on more than 1.6 million Swedish Military men and more than one million Swedish women who had a first pregnancy between 1982 and 2012.

They also looked at height and tracked diagnoses of blood clots.

Researchers found that height can be an independent predictor of your risk for blood clots. Shorter people had a significantly decreased risk of blood clots compared to taller people.

The researchers found that the risk for blood clots decreased 69 percent for women shorter than about 5-foot-1, compared with women about 6 feet and taller. The risk dropped 65 percent for men shorter than about 5-foot-3, compared with men about 6-foot-2 and taller.

Among men, an association with height was found for risk of blood clots in the lungs, called pulmonary embolism, as well as in the legs and other locations. Among women, only the risk of blood clots in the legs was significantly associated with height.

And blood clots aren’t the only health concern linked to how tall you are. Cancer, heart problems, gestational diabetes and even the length of your life have been linked to the length of your body.

Of course, you cannot change your height, but experts point out you can make healthy lifestyle choices to reduce your risk of various conditions. 

The bottom line, whether you’re tall or short, you need to be aware of all the lifestyle factors that may increase your risk for blood clots, like smoking, high blood pressure and a sedentary lifestyle.

Related Articles