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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Height loss heart risk

12th December 2006

17032006_old_hands.jpgMen who lose more than 3cm in height as they age are more likely to develop heart disease.

UK researchers have found that those who lost 3cm in height have a 64% increased risk of heart attack and death than those who lost less than 1cm. The research of 4,200 men was part of the British Regional Heart Study which enrolled men between 1978 and 1980 and recalled them for research 20 years later when they had reached their 60s and 70s. The men had lost an average of 1.67cm in height over the 20 year period with a third losing over 2cm.

The research was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and took into account other risk factors for heart disease and poor health. Many of the additional deaths in men who had lost height were due to cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease or other non-cancer diseases.

Although it has been well established that shortness is linked to cardiovascular disease, this is the first time a link between height loss and heart disease has been proven. It seems that height loss is a general indicator of poor health although the scientists don’t yet know why. The researchers have suggested that there could be an underlying mechanism that contributes to both bone and height loss and coronary heart disease as well as other diseases.

The study was lead by Dr Goya Wannamethee from the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London who recommends people stay as active as possible into old age to avoid loss of muscle mass and height.

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