Your height is determined by both your genes and environment, but the genetics may increase your risk of a variety of diseases.

Health 2 June 2022

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Being taller might have drawbacks.

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According to the largest study linking height and disease to date, being taller may increase your risk of developing certain diseases. According to the findings, height could be used as a risk factor to prioritize screening tests for those at greatest risk.

A person's height is determined by thousands of genes and environmental factors. Previous research tried to separate out these effects by using genes alone to estimate a person's "genetically predicted height", but the links between height and many other diseases were unexplored.

More than 300,000 former members of the US armed forces have been analysed by the University of Colorado's Sridharan Raghavan and his colleagues.

The team looked at a number of genes that influence height. A higher predicted height increases your risk of cardiovascular problems. They found that genes related to being taller were associated with a higher risk of infections and nerve damage.

Read more: Men are worse than women at estimating their height and weight

Raghavan says that they used genetic predicted height to identify conditions that were unlikely to be associated with height spuriously due to correlations with other factors.

According to the team, measuring someone's height could be a quick and easy way to determine their disease risk. The taller you are, the greater the risk.

According to Raghavan, a tape measure would suffice in the clinic. The first step is to identify conditions for which height might be a risk factor.

According to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, there is a possibility that some health-related tests may be done more for tall people.

The journal's title is "Posy Genetics" and it can be found on the journal's website.

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