It seems that being tall doesn’t come without risks. A recent study suggests the risk of forming blood clots, condition also known as venous thromboembolism (VTE), gets bigger the taller a person is. Therefore, researchers suggest height should also be considered when counting the risk factors of a person.
What is VTE?
VTE is characterized by a blood clot which usually forms in a vein. It is among the most typical cardiovascular diagnoses, right after heart attacks and strokes. Every year, between 300,000 and 600,000 Americans suffer from it.
In the past, VTE was associated with old age, obesity, or with several other diseases which might cause it as a side effect. The condition can be triggered if a person undergoes a surgery or gets hospitalized. Also, certain hormones might influence it. These hormones are produced during pregnancy, or could be acquired through contraceptives.
Taller people had a higher risk of developing blood clots
We shouldn’t forget about genetics as a leading VTE factor. If a person has a thicker blood consistency, he is more likely to develop the condition. Now, researchers suggest genetics play a big role than expected. They performed a study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, and found that people who were 6 ft 2 tall or more were at a 65 percent higher risk of VTE.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about it, as one cannot influence one’s height. Researchers observed how people started getting taller, and this coincided with a higher incidence of VTE. Dr. Bengt Zöller, one of the researchers involved in the study, says doctors should pay more attention to how tall a person is.
“I think we should start to include height in risk assessment just as overweight.”
The study didn’t account for the background of the participants, but the height-VTE risk correlation was still evident even in siblings. However, researchers need to continue their study before they can establish this relation is true.
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