In the study, published in the journal Communications Biology, researchers examine over 800 places in the human genome known to be associated with adult height and also evaluated data suggesting that lower height increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. Long-term lung conditions are traditionally separate into two main categories as based on how they affect a person’s breathing.
These categories are either obstructive or restrictive. A third category, called mix lung disease, is smaller and has characteristics of both obstructive and restrictive lung diseases. Mix lung disease most commonly occurs in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), who also have congestive heart failure. In cases of obstructive lung diseases, such as asthma, bronchiectasis, COPD, and emphysema; the lungs are unable to expel air properly during exhalation.
Restrictive lung diseases
The authors found no evidence of a causal link between height and type 2 diabetes ris; so once an individual’s body mass index was taken into account but report a causal relationship between height and heart disease risk. Restrictive lung diseases cause a decrease lung capacity or volume; so a person’s breathing rate often increases to meet their oxygen demands.
Most restrictive lung diseases are progressive; so meaning they worsen over time. Many traditional risk factors for heart disease were investigate including, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, fat percentage. Socio-economic parameters including education and income but results show that they only account for a very small part of the effect of height on heart disease risk. The way our lungs function account for most of this effect.
Lead author, Dr Eirini Marouli from Queen Mary University of London said: “Understanding the causal relationship behind an observation such as the inverse relationship between adult height and heart disease risk; which is important in advancing our knowledge about the disease and has the potential to point towards lifestyle interventions; which can impact disease prevention.
In this study they investigate not only the causal relationship between adult height and cardiometabolic diseases (CAD and T2D) but also the extent to which traditional risk factors (obesity, glycaemic, lipid, and BP), lung function and socio-economic status may mediate such effects.
Protective causal effect of adults
Consistent with previous studies, our Mendelian randomisation results provide strong evidence for a protective causal effect of adult height on CAD risk; so 1 standard deviation higher height (~6.5 cm) was causally associate with a 16% lower risk of CAD (OR = 0.84, 95% CI 0.80–0.87) using summary statistics data.
Our results suggest that they need to assess lung function alongside someone’s height to have a better handle in predicting their risk in developing heart disease. Heart attacks are one of the most common causes of death worldwide. Nearly one in six men and one in ten women die from heart disease; therefore identifying heart disease risk factors, especially those that could be modify through early lifestyle interventions; is specifically important.
According to Professor Panos Deloukas from Queen Mary University of London; by senior author of the study: Individuals of shorter statute can consider regular exercise and the avoidance of a sedentary lifestyle; so smoking to reduce their risk of heart disease given that, as they show in this study; so the effect of shorter height on the risk of heart disease; hence it is mediate by lung function. Our findings and further studies of this nature; so empower efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle and in particular physical activity that can lead to improve lung function.