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Study: Taller people have higher risk of stroke, heart conditions

Study: Taller people have higher risk of stroke, heart conditions

Taller people are more likely to develop atrial fibrillation (AFib), an irregular and often rapid heartbeat that can lead to stroke, heart failure, and other complications, says a recent study. The research, which reveals a strong link between the genetic variant associated with height and one's risk for AFib, is among the first to demonstrate that height may be a causal - not correlated - a risk factor for AFib.

The findings were presented at the American Heart Association's 2019 Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia. Researchers found that the risk for AFib climbed as one's height increased, with every one-inch increase in height translating to about a three per cent increase in the risk of Afib - independent of other clinical factors - as compared to those at average height (5 feet and 7 inches).

"Our findings suggest it may be beneficial to incorporate height into risk-prediction tools for AFib," said the study's lead author Michael Levin, MD, a Cardiovascular Medicine fellow at Penn.

"While current guidelines advise against widespread screening for AFib, our findings show that a certain group of patients - specifically, very tall patients - may benefit from screening," added Levin. AFib, which affects more than 33 million people worldwide, is a common, abnormal heart rhythm. There are a number of clinical risk factors for developing AFib, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Observational studies, examining population-level data, have found that taller individuals appear to have a higher risk of developing AFib. However, questions exist about whether height can cause AFib, or if it's just a common, insignificant factor. Read More...

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