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Health Problems Related to Your Height

Health Problems Related to Your Height

As surprising as it may seem, height has been associated with many health problems. Depending on how tall or short you are, you are more susceptible to certain diseases and illnesses. Learn more about the health risks linked to your height, in this WellnessKeen article.
Anuya Waghmare
Did You know?
You are tallest in the morning, and shortest at night. This happens because, during the day, the gap between the vertebra reduces, which decreases your height by almost a centimeter.

If you are unhappy with your height, and want to be very tall, then you should think again. We agree that your height plays a crucial role in how you look; it even defines your personality. However, did you know that height is linked to a variety of health problems, right from cardiovascular diseases or Alzheimer's to cancer? Research has shown that there are some diseases and illnesses that seem to affect people of a specific height more frequently than others.
While it is not completely clear how your stature poses a risk to your health, this WellnessKeen article educates you about certain health problems that arise, in which, apart from other factors, your height also plays a major role.
Health Issues In Taller People

According to the American Cancer Society, the average woman's lifetime cancer risk is 38.2%. Researchers found that with every extra 10 cm increase in height, the risk of cancer of the kidneys, rectum, blood, or thyroid increased by 23% to 29%, and their risk of skin, breast, ovary, or colon cancer rose by 13% to 17%. Another study published in 2008, in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention journal, mentioned that taller men were at a higher risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. Scientists believe that because taller people have more number of cells and larger organs in their body, they are at an increased risk. Dietary habits, secretion of growth hormones, and environmental factors may also be a reason for the increased risk of cancer in taller people.

Strain Injuries

Because of the increased length of their bones, taller people are more vulnerable to strain injuries. This happens because tall people need to adjust themselves to equipment designed for people with an average height. So yes, taller people are more likely to suffer from repetitive strain injuries, the most common being Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, caused by compression of the nerves in the wrist. 'Epicondylitis' or 'tennis-elbow', tendonitis or inflammation of the tendons between bones and muscles, and conditions affecting the muscles and the working of the limbs are some of the other condition that can affect taller people. Lower back pain is also a very common condition that taller people suffer from.

Traumatic Injuries

According to research, people who are over 6 feet tall are 27% more likely to be injured in a car crash than someone under 6 feet tall. Their height makes them more vulnerable to serious injuries in crashes or other traumatic events. Also, since protective devices are designed for people with average height, these devices may not work optimally for tall people, and may make them uncomfortable. At times, just using equipment made for the average-sized people can cause injuries to taller people.
Health Issues in Shorter People
Cardiovascular Diseases

A study published in the European Heart Journal states that being shorter increases your risk of heart diseases. A review of more than 52 recent studies that involved more than 3 million people of both sexes found that shorter people have a 50% increased risk of heart disease than taller people. How exactly is short stature associated with this increased risk is still being researched, and scientists may come up with possible answers for this in the near future.


Serious strokes are also found to be more common among shorter people. An Israeli study published in the American Heart Association Journal mentions that men who were in the shortest quartile were at a 54% higher risk of stroke than men in the tallest quartile. Whether this is because of nutrition or hormonal factors, or an association between various environmental or external conditions, strokes are found to affect shorter people more seriously.

Alzheimer's Disease

A 2007 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that men who were taller than 5 feet 10 inches had a 59% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease than those whose height was less than 5 feet 6 inches. According to Alzheimer's Association, almost 5.2 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer's. The risk of this disease increases with age, though heredity is also a major risk factor of developing this disease.

How your stature poses a greater risk to these diseases is yet to be known, and scientists are still trying to find answers to these questions. However, there is nothing to worry about, as a balanced diet, proper nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle is still the key to your fitness and wellness. Following this will keep most diseases at bay.