Why you being taller increases the risk of blood clots

It could be because taller people have longer veins or they have more gravitational pressure that can increase the risk of blood flow slowing or temporarily stopping.

Published: 06th September 2017 02:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th September 2017 02:43 PM   |  A+A-

Image for representational purpose only.


LONDON: The taller you are, the more likely you may be at risk of developing blood clots in veins, according to new study of more than two million siblings.

The findings showed that the risk of venous thromboembolism -- a type of blood clot that starts in a vein -- was associated with height, with the lowest risk being in shorter participants.

"Height in the population has increased, and continues increasing, which could be contributing to the fact that the incidence of thrombosis has increased," said lead researcher Bengt Zoller, Associate Professor at Lund University in Sweden.

According to Zoller, gravity may influence the association between height and venous thromboembolism risk. 

"It could just be that because taller individuals have longer leg veins there is more surface area where problems can occur," Zoller said. 

"There is also more gravitational pressure in leg veins of taller persons that can increase the risk of blood flow slowing or temporarily stopping."

For the study, reported in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, the team looked at data on more than 1.6 million Swedish men born between 1951 and 1992, and data on more than one million Swedish women who had a first pregnancy between 1982 and 2012. 

For men shorter than 5 feet 3 inches, the risk for venous thromboembolism dropped 65 per cent when compared to the men 6 feet 2 inches or taller.

For women shorter than 5 feet 1 inches who were pregnant for the first time, the risk for venous thromboembolism dropped 69 per cent, compared to women that were 6 feet or taller.

Besides, the risk of blood clots, previous studies have linked height also with cancer, heart problems, gestational diabetes and even longevity.


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