Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Being tall, obese may significantly increase risk of blood clots in deep veins

Date:
April 28, 2011
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
The combination of being tall and obese, particularly in men, may substantially raise the risk of developing potentially dangerous blood clots in veins deep in the body. If you're tall, you can reduce your risk by maintaining a healthy weight.

Being tall and obese may increase your risk for potentially dangerous blood clots, according to new research in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Obesity is a well-known risk factor for clots in deep veins (usually in the legs) and for pulmonary embolism, a clot in blood vessels of the lungs that can result in sudden death or strain on the heart. Together, the two conditions are called venous thromboembolism (VTE).

Compared with short (5 feet, 7.7 inches or less) and normal-weight men (body mass index < 25kg/m2), the age-adjusted risk of VTE was:

  • 5.28 times higher in obese and tall men
  • 2.57 times higher in normal-weight and tall men (at least 5 feet, 11.7 inches tall)
  • 2.11 times higher in obese and short men

The amount of risk conferred by being both obese and tall was comparable to other known risk factors for VTE, including pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives, and carrying one gene for an inherited predisposition to clotting called Factor V Leiden.

Compared with short (5 feet, 2.6 inches or less) normal-weight women, the age-adjusted risk of VTE was:

  • 2.77 times higher in obese and tall women
  • 1.83 times higher in obese and short women
  • Not increased in normal-weight and tall women (more than 5 feet, 6 inches)

"We believe that we observed the increased risk in tall and normal-weight men, but not women, because most women do not get sufficiently tall," said Sigrid K. Braekkan, Ph.D., senior study author and a researcher in the Hematological Research Group at the University of Tromsø in Norway. "The risk may be present in very tall women, but there were too few to investigate this properly."

Researchers said more studies are needed to determine the mechanisms of the association between tall stature, excess weight and the combination on the risk of VTEs.

"In tall people the blood must be pumped a longer distance by the calf-muscle pump, which may cause reduced flow in the legs and thereby raise the risk of clotting," Braekkan said.

"Understanding and preventing VTE is important because even the first occurrence may be fatal. Obesity, in combination with other VTE risk factors, has been shown to substantially increase the risk, so we wanted to assess the combined effects of tall stature and obesity."

The research team analyzed data from the Tromsø study, which conducts periodic health surveys of adults 25-97 years old in the Norwegian town. Researchers collected height and obesity measures on 26,714 men and women followed a median of 12.5 years between 1994 and 2007. During that time, 461 VTEs occurred.

Obesity causes increased pressure in the abdomen, which may reduce the ability of the calf-muscle pump to return the blood from the legs. "Obesity is also linked to a state of constant low-grade inflammation, and inflammation may render blood more susceptible to clotting," Braekkan said.

Physicians should consider people's height and weight as they assess their overall risk for dangerous clots, researchers said.

"Since body height is not easy to modify, the most important thing is to stay slim, especially if you are tall," Braekkan said.

The researchers previously found a strikingly similar rise in clot risk along with height in American men, and believe that the height cut-offs would apply to Caucasian populations in other regions.

In the United States, more than 275,000 people each year are hospitalized with deep vein clots or pulmonary embolism, according to the American Heart Association.

Co-authors are Knut H. Borch, M.D.; Cecilie Nyegaard, M.D.; John-Bjarne Hansen, M.D., Ph.D.; Ellisiv B. Mathiesen, M.D., Ph.D.; Inger Njølstad, M.D., Ph.D. and Tom Wilsgaard, Ph.D.

The University of Tromsø and the Northern Norway Regional Health Authority funded the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Knut H. Borch, Cecilie Nyegaard, John-Bjarne Hansen, Ellisiv B. Mathiesen, Inger Njølstad, Tom Wilsgaard, and Sigrid K. Brækkan. Joint Effects of Obesity and Body Height on the Risk of Venous Thromboembolism: The Tromsø Study. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol, Apr 2011 DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.110.218925

Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Being tall, obese may significantly increase risk of blood clots in deep veins." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428162304.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2011, April 28). Being tall, obese may significantly increase risk of blood clots in deep veins. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428162304.htm
American Heart Association. "Being tall, obese may significantly increase risk of blood clots in deep veins." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428162304.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) — A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins