Study Reveals The Impact Being Tall Has On Your Health - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Study Reveals The Impact Being Tall Has On Your Health

The world’s largest study of height and disease sought to provide a greater insight into the common infections and diseases that those tall people amongst us are more susceptible to.

Few things were more annoying than going through a growth spurt during high school. Along with the same of having to rock up to school wearing pants that now finished an inch or two shy of your ankle, there were the muscle aches and pains, and the general all-round awkwardness that accompanied this newly-discovered height. Where it was the case that you once were able to have conversations with teachers without suddenly being made aware of the height difference, soon after you began to hunch the shoulders and try, desperately, to appear shorter. Of course, growing pains are short-lived and now it’s all anyone wants: height. You need only peruse Tinder bios to see that for those blessed with vertical length, theirs is something to be splashed in bold across their profiles. 

But when it comes to being tall, there are certain health factors that one needs to be aware of. Or at least, this study believes we should be. Thanks to the world’s largest study of height and disease, it’s been revealed that taller people have an increased risk of peripheral neuropathy, as well as skin and bone infections. But despite this, taller people are also known to have lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. 

The research, led by Sridharan Raghavan of the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Centre in the US, found that a person’s height raises and reduces their risk of a variety of diseases. With finding published in the journal of PLOS Genetics, height was found to be a factor associated with multiple common conditions, ranging from heart disease to cancer. 

The study is a tricky one though, and it’s long been something that has perplexed scientists and researchers alike. Ultimately, scientists have struggled to determine whether being short or tall is what puts people at risk, as well as determine whether it is height or other factors that might affect it, like nutrition and socioeconomic status. Researchers set out to remove these factors from the study by looking separately at connections between various diseases and a person’s actual height. 

Using data from the VA Million Veteran Program, including genetic and health information from more than 200,000 white adults and more than 50,000 black adults, the study examined more than 1,000 conditions and traits. Results confirmed those findings from smaller trials, where being tall was linked to higher risk of atrial fibrillation and varicose veins, and a lower risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Researchers also found links to being tall and higher risk of skin and bone infections such as leg and foot ulcers. 

While more studies are needed to clarify the findings, researchers believe height may be a previously unrecognised risk factor for several common diseases. As Raghavan explained to The Guardian. We found evidence that adult height may impact over 100 clinical traits, including several conditions associated with poor outcomes and quality of life – perisperhal neuropathy, lower extremity ulcers, and chronic venous insufficiency. We conclude that height may be an unrecognised non-modifiable risk factor for several common conditions in adults.” 

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