Washington: A new study has suggested a connection between an adult's height and the prevalence of coronary artery calcium (CAC), a direct marker of plaque in the arteries that feed the heart.
Coronary artery calcium is a strong predictor of future heart attacks with a nearly 10 fold increase in the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in patients with elevated CAC.
The study, which is based on research in 2,703 patients from the Family Heart Study, suggested that taller adults tend to have lower levels of plaque, and thus, a lower risk of CHD.
This relationship persisted even after accounting for standard cardiovascular risk factors such as age, smoking, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
"A potential link between height and CHD has been shown in several studies but the mechanism of this relationship has not been clear and our study suggests the relationship is mediated by plaque build up in the coronary arteries," Michael Miedema, MD, MPH, from the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, said.
There may be as much as 30 percent lower risk of plaque build-up in the top quarter of tallest adults compared to the bottom quarter. These results had to be adjusted for gender, given the differences in height between men and women, but the relationship was consistent in both men and women.
The study is published in journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging.