Short children have higher risk of having strokes

Short children have higher risk of having a cerebrovascular accident
Children who were two to three inches shorter than average were at risk of clot-related strokes as adult men and women

New Danish research has found a link between shorter children and an increased risk of having a cerebrovascular accident later in adult life.

The study analysed data on over 300,000 Danish schoolchildren born between 1930-1989 who were examined at the ages of seven, ten and 13 years, with the aim of understanding having a cerebrovascular accident (stroke) in later life.

Researchers noted that those boys and girls who were two to three inches shorter than average were at risk of clot-related strokes as adult men and women, as well as bleeding stroke in men.

What are other contributing factors?

Adulthood height is genetically determined; however, other contributing factors include maternal diet during pregnancy, childhood diet, infection, and psychological stress. All of these are thought to affect the risk of stroke.

It was also noted that a decline in stroke incidence and mortality rates in most of the high-income countries, predominantly in women, occurred simultaneously with a general increase in attained adult height.

What’s next for the research?

According to researchers, these results have implications for the understanding of disease origin rather than for clinical risk prediction, and future studies should focus on the mechanisms underlying the relationship between childhood height and later stroke.

Jennifer L Baker, PhD, senior study author and associate professor in the Center for Clinical Research and Prevention at Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, said: “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.”

It was recently reported by Public Health England that the average age for having a stroke in England has reduced in male and females, with 38% of first time strokes taking place in middle-aged adults aged between 40-69 years.

The study was published in an American Heart Association journal Stroke.

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