Short Kids May Have Higher Risk for Future Strokes: Study

Short Kids May Have Higher Risk for Future Strokes: Study

Short kids have an increased risk of having a stroke in adulthood, says a Danish study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

Researchers examined data on more than 300,000 Danish schoolchildren at the ages of 7, 10, and 13 who were born between 1930 and 1989. They discovered that both boys and girls who were 2 to 3 inches shorter than average for their age had an increased risk of ischemic — clot related —stroke as an adult. Shorter boys also had an increased risk of cerebral hemorrhage, where a ruptured blood vessel causes bleeding in the brain.

Height as an adult is determined by genes, but it is also influenced by factors such as maternal diet during pregnancy, childhood diet, infection, and psychological stress which are all believed to affect the risk of stroke.  

“Our study suggests that short height in children is a possible marker of stroke risk and suggests these children should pay extra attention to changing or treating modifiable risk factors for stroke throughout life to reduce the chances of having this disease,” said senior study author Jennifer L. Baker, Ph.D. of the University of Copenhagen.

Previous studies have found that short people are more susceptible to heart disease and diabetes. Several studies found that some of the variations in genes that cause people to be short also increase levels of two risk factors for heart disease — LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the risk for coronary artery disease rose 13.5 percent for each inch in height that was below the average.

They are also at a disadvantage if they’re waiting for a lung transplant: Studies show that short people wait longer for an organ and are more likely to die in the process.

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