April 9th, 2015
Association Between Shorter Height and Heart Disease Largely Explained by Genes
The “well-established” link between shorter adult height and increased risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) is largely explained by height-associated genetic variants, researchers conclude in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Using data from genome-wide association studies, the researchers examined the relationship between 180 height-associated genetic variants and CAD among 65,000 cases (adults with histories of myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization, or angiographic coronary disease) and 128,000 controls. These variants have previously been shown to explain roughly 10% of the variation in adult height.
Overall, for each 1-standard-deviation decrease in genetically determined height, there was a 13.5% increase in CAD risk. Higher LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels were also found to be associated with shorter height, but they accounted for only 30% of the observed relationship between height and CAD. Accordingly, the authors attribute much of the association to “shared biologic process that determine achieved height and the development of atherosclerosis.”