Short people have a 50 percent higher chance of having heart problems than tall people
By Rosemary Black
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
According to a new study, short people have a 50 per cent higher chance of having heart problems than tall people.
Do you stand head and shoulders below the crowd? Better pay close attention to your health.
People of short stature have a 50 percent higher chance of having a heart problem or a fatal heart attack than tall people, according to a new study reported by the Associated Press.
But shorties shouldn't worry too much: a person's weight, smoking habits and blood pressure are still more important factors when it comes to calculating cardiovascular risk.
While researchers are uncertain why short people could be more at risk for heart problems, it could be that traditionally, those of small stature were undernourished and more susceptible to health problems in general.
A possible biological explanation could be a hormone imbalance that damages the heart. Since small people have smaller arteries, those blood vessels theoretically could get blocked faster with cholesterol or be more quickly hurt by blood pressure changes.
While earlier studies showed a possible link between height and cardiac problems such as angina and heart attacks, this is the first large scale review of such studies.
Finnish researchers examined 52 earlier papers that contained data on cardiac disorders and height in over 3 million people. They learned that the shortest people were one and one half times more likely to suffer or die from cardiac problems than the tallest people. Published online in the European Heart Journal, the study was funded by the Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research and other groups.
Study lead author Tuula Paajanen of Tempere University Hospital in Finland does not think shorties should be too concerned about the research.
"Height is only one factor (among many) that may contribute to heart disease risk," she told the Associated Press. Instead, she urged people to focus on other ways of staying healthy, like exercising and not smoking.
"Those are easier to change than your height," she said.