11 September 2017


Researchers believe they may have found a link between height and risk of venous thromboembolism.

A team based at Lund University and Malmö University Hospital in Sweden examined the possible link using a population sample of 1,610,870 male conscripts born in 1951 to 1992, followed from 1969-2010 until 2012, and 1,093,342 first-time pregnant women from the medical birth register, from 1982-2012 until 2012.

They looked at figures on full-sibling pairs who were of different heights to each other, so try to keep genetic and environmental variations as close as possible.

Analysis showed that, compared with the tallest women (over 185cm) and men (over 190cm), there was 'a graded decreased risk by lower height' for both men and women.

In the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics last week they report: 'The risk was lowest in women and men with the shortest stature (below 155cm and 160cm respectively). 'These individuals were at a 69% and 65% lower risk respectively.

They conclude: 'Height is an independent predictor of venous thromboembolism. The use of sibling pairs reduces the likelihood that familial confounding explains the results. The findings are important for the understanding of the pathogenesis of venous thromboembolism.'

Researcher Dr Bengt Zoller said: 'Height is not something we can do anything about. However, the height in the population has increased, and continues increasing, which could be contributing to the fact that the incidence of thrombosis has increased.

'It could just be that because taller individuals have longer leg veins there is more surface area where problems can occur. There is also more gravitational pressure in leg veins of taller persons that can increase the risk of blood flow slowing or temporarily stopping.'

Source: Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics 5 September 2017

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