Shorter people are at bigger risk of developing heart disease

Short people face a greater lifetime risk of clogged arteries, according to a study that confirmed the long-known link between height and heart disease by examining genetics. The study is the first to show that the higher risk is primarily due to a variety of genes that influence whether a person is tall or short, and not potentially confounding factors like poverty or poor nutrition. The research is published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers examined 180 different genetics variants in a database of nearly 200,000 people with and without coronary heart disease, which is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries and can lead to heart attack.

The more height increasing genetic variants that you carry the lower your risk of coronary heart disease. And conversely if you were genetically shorter the higher your risk.

Christopher Nelson, a British Heart Foundation-funded lecturer at the University of Leicester. “

For example, compared to a 5ft 6inch tall person, a 5 foot tall person on average has a 32 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease because of their relatively shorter stature. Coronary heart disease is the commonest cause of premature death worldwide. Researchers hope that further study of the genes implicated in height and heart disease may lead to better prevention and treatment in the future.

For more than 60 years it has been known that there is an inverse relationship between height and risk of coronary heart disease.

Sir Nilesh Samani, professor of cardiology at the University of Leicester