It would not be wrong to say that everyone wants to look tall these days because having a few extra inches not only boosts your confidence but also makes your personality shine out in a crowd. Albeit, everything in this life comes with a cost and so is the case with your height.
Direct link between height and health
As per a genetic study conducted by the US Department of Veteran Affairs’ Million Veteran Program (MVP), a person’s height can enhance or lower the risk for multiple health conditions in adulthood.
The study was, in fact, conducted to rule out any confounding factors by looking at various diseases and a person’s actual height separately. Hence, the genetic and health information from more than 200,000 white adults and more than 50,000 black adults was used, keeping 1,000 conditions and traits in consideration.
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The final results
The study, recently published in the journal PLOS Genetics, confirmed that being tall has a direct link to a higher risk of atrial fibrillation and varicose veins, and peripheral neuropathy caused by damage to nerves on the extremities. Being tall also causes skin and bone infections such as leg and foot ulcers.
However, there is a silver lining. If you are the tallest in the crowd, you are at a lower risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The way ahead
In fact, researchers are now believing that previously, height may be an unrecognized risk factor for many common diseases.
“We found evidence that adult height may impact over 100 clinical traits, including several conditions associated with poor outcomes and quality of life – peripheral neuropathy, lower extremity ulcers, and chronic venous insufficiency,” said Dr Sridharan Raghavan from the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System, who led the study.
But until a more diverse international population is studied, more claims cannot be made.
“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,” he explained. “Future work will have to evaluate whether incorporating height into disease risk assessments can inform strategies to modify other risk factors for specific conditions.”