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Understanding the Correlation Between Height and Diseases Like Heart Disease, Cancer, and Diabetes

By Mark Silvanic, 9:00 am on

There are numerous risk factors that can affect a senior’s chance of developing certain medical conditions. New research suggests that a person’s height may indicate certain risk factors for heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. Colorado Springs home care providers hope families will keep the findings of this research in mind to safeguard their loved one’s from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Shortness Increases Risk of Heart Disease

A study by a team of researchers for the New England Journal of Medicine has examined the genomes of 200,000 people both with and without heart disease. They discovered that a person who is two and a half inches shorter than another has a 13.5 percent increase in heart disease risk. This means that a five-foot tall person is 60 percent more likely to get heart disease than a six-foot tall individual. The researchers are unsure of the exact reason for this likelihood, but it seems to have something to do with short people having smaller arteries and higher blood pressure.

Tall People Have Less Diabetes Risk

The link between height and diabetes is strongly correlated to the link between body mass index (BMI) and diabetes. People who have a high BMI, which means they have a high amount of fat in relation to their height, are far more likely to develop both type 1 and type 2 diabetes than those with lower BMI. Most tall people have lower BMIs, so they have a reduced risk of developing either form of diabetes.

Being Tall Makes Cancer More Likely

Research by Dr. Emelie Benyi in Sweden supports the belief that tall people have a stronger likelihood of developing cancer, particularly breast or skin cancer. This happens because cancer comes from a mutated cell, and taller people have a higher chance of cell mutation because they have more cells in their body. The risk of cancer increases by 11-18 percent for every four inches of extra height, so it is particularly important for taller seniors to not smoke, drink heavily, or sunbathe regularly.

With the above information in mind, family caregivers in Colorado Springs can help safeguard their loved ones against these diseases. If your loved one was recently diagnosed with heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, he or she may need help managing his or her illness. Home Care Assistance of Colorado Springs provides flexible live-in and hourly home care that promotes senior health and wellbeing in the comfort of home. Let us help your loved one age in place. Call us at (719) 822-1229 today and schedule a free in-home consultation with a trusted Care Manager.