If you are more than 5 feet and 7 inches, watch out for heart problems. According to a study, tall people are more likely to develop a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation.
Although being more than 5’7″ has many advantages – such as facilitating men’s love lives – it appears to be harmful to the heart. According to research conducted by a team from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (Penn Medicine), the elderly are more likely to develop atrial fibrillation. This means a rapid and irregular contraction of the atrium that can lead to heart attacks and other heart complications.
Heart disease: Every inch counts
First, the researchers analyzed the files of 700,000 people to identify genetic variants associated with height. Then, they studied data from 500,000 individuals to verify the link between genetics and atrial fibrillation. They found that the risk of developing this heart condition increased with an increase in height. For example, the risk of atrial fibrillation per extra inch regardless of other clinical factors – increases by approximately 3% compared to the average person (5 feet and 7 inches, or approximately 1.70 m).
Michael Levin, a cardiovascular researcher at Penn Medicine, explains: Our results suggest that it may be useful to integrate human height into the tools we use to predict the risk of atrial fibrillation. He then stated that while current guidelines discourage widespread screening for the disease, our results show that a certain group of patients, particularly the very tall ones, could benefit from screening.
Dr. Scott Damrauer, who also participated in the study, added: These analyses show how we can use human genetics to help us better understand the risk factors for common diseases.
Atrial Fibrillation: What is it?
Atrial fibrillation is characterized by an uncontrolled and irregular heartbeat which could lead to the formation of clots, strokes, and even heart failure. If the heart of a healthy person contracts at a rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute (at rest), the heart of a patient with atrial fibrillation may be more than 150 beats per minute.
Atrial fibrillation can be permanent or episodic. It affects 1% of the general population, particularly the elderly (more than 10% of people over 80).
In addition to age, risk factors include heart diseases such as hypertension, hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney disease, sleep apnea, diabetes, and obesity.
If atrial fibrillation is not under control, this can lead to heart failure or a heart attack. It also promotes the formation of thrombi (or blood clots) and can also cause strokes. 20% to 30% of strokes are secondary to this heart rhythm disorder.