Women’s Stroke Mortality: Height Loss May Imply Risk
Researchers at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg have published a new study showing that women’s height decrease in middle age may be linked to their risk of dying from a stroke. They looked at data from two studies that followed women’s health in Sweden and Denmark for decades.
According to research, people who lose height are more likely to have low bone mineral density, vitamin D deficiency, and vertebral fractures. The study links rapid height loss to a higher overall mortality rate and an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease in mixed cohorts of men and women. The goal of researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden was to see if women’s height decrease in middle age is linked to a higher risk of overall and cardiovascular death.
1,259 women from Denmark’s MONICA (MONItoring trends and determinants of CArdiovascular disease) study and 1,147 women from Sweden’s Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg participated in this study. Researchers assessed participants’ height at the beginning of the study when they were 30–60 years old and again 10–13 years later. The individuals lost 0.31′ (8 cm) on average during this time, but the amounts varied from 0 to 5.5′ (0–14 cm).
Furthermore, researchers tracked deaths among the individuals and their likely causes for 17–19 years after the second height assessment. Those who lost more than 2 cm of their initial height were 2.31 times more likely to die from a stroke and 2.14 times more likely to die from any type of CVD after accounting for other contributing factors such as lifestyle.
They linked every 0.39′ (one centimeter) of reduced height to a 14% and 21% higher mortality risk from any cause in the Swedish and Danish cohorts, respectively. However, researchers point out that the number of deaths from stroke was relatively low, so people should proceed with caution when interpreting these findings.
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