FRIDAY, June 3, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A person’s height may impact their risk for certain diseases, according to a study published online June 2 in PLOS Genetics.

Sridharan Raghavan, M.D., Ph.D., from the Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System in Aurora, and colleagues performed a Mendelian randomization (MR) phenome-wide association study using clinical and genetic data from 222,300 non-Hispanic White and 58,151 non-Hispanic Black U.S. veterans.

The researchers identified 345 clinical traits associated with measured height in White participants and an additional 17 in Black participants. Of these, 127 traits were associated with genetically predicted height at phenome-wide significance in White individuals, and two traits were found in Black participants, largely independent of body mass index. Some of these MR associations between height and cardiovascular disease traits such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, coronary heart disease, and atrial fibrillation had been previously described, but novel associations were seen for venous circulatory disorders and peripheral neuropathy in the presence and absence of diabetes. Modification of effects of MR associations occurred for atrial fibrillation/flutter when examined by coronary heart disease status, but not for hypertension, hyperlipidemia, or venous circulatory disorders.

“Height may be an unrecognized but biologically plausible risk factor for several common conditions in adults,” the authors write. “However, more studies are needed to reliably exclude horizontal pleiotropy as a driving force behind at least some of the MR associations observed in this study.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research.

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