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Height Can Increase Cancer Risk

According to Annapolis elder care professionals, your height may say more about your health than you think. According to a major new study, height has a big impact on the risk of many common diseases, regardless of body fat mass and other factors.

Height and Disease Risk

According to a new study published in The Lancet: Diabetes & Endocrinology, tall people have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but a higher risk of cancer. Height impacts risk regardless of weight and fat mass. The study backs up a long-held belief among doctors that shorter people are more likely to die from a heart attack or heart disease. 

According to the study of almost 200,000 people, for every 2.5 inches below average height, the risk of heart disease increases 14 percent. This connection is even stronger among women than men, but the gender difference isn’t well understood.

What Causes the Link?

The study authors suspect that an increase in height is a sign of overnutrition from high-calorie foods rich in animal protein. It’s believed this causes body programming in utero that activates the IGF-1/2 system, making the body more sensitive to insulin and influencing the metabolism of fat.

Researchers found that tall people are more sensitive to insulin and have less fat in their livers, which helps explain the lower risk for diabetes and heart disease. The activation of the IGF-1/2 system, however, may be related to a higher risk of cancer.

Another factor at work? Your genes. According to a 2015 study, about 180 genes determine height, and some genes that make you short can also increase your likelihood of having high LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Height Isn’t Everything

While your height can increase your risk of heart disease and type two diabetes, nothing is guaranteed. The risk of developing heart disease due to your height is less than the risk from smoking or having high blood pressure. Take steps to reduce your risk by avoiding tobacco, maintaining a healthy weight, lowering your blood sugar and cholesterol, and eating a heart-healthy diet.

Learn more about senior health from the friendly and experienced staff at Home Care Assistance. We offer comprehensive home care, including dementia and Alzheimer’s care in Annapolis, that helps seniors maintain physical, mental, and emotional health. Schedule a free in-home consultation by calling 443-302-2771 today. We look forward to hearing from you.