The Blood Has so Far to Go

Tall and obese men have an especially high risk of blood clots

(RxWiki News) Being tall may help you reach those plates on the top shelf, but it also means that your blood has to travel further. This can lead to problems with your blood flow. Being tall and obese may raise your risk for several health problems.

Researchers found that people who are both tall and obese have a much greater risk of blood clots in veins deep in the body. Men have an especially high risk.

"Tall and obese people have a high risk of dangerous blood clots."

It was already known that obesity increases the risk of blood clots in the legs and lungs. Now, the researchers found that being tall can add to these problems.

According to Sigrid K. Braekkan, Ph.D., from the University of Tromso in Norway and the study's senior author, people who are tall and of normal weight also have a higher risk of blood clots. Their risk may be greater because there blood has to be pumped further through their body, which lessens the flow to their legs.

Braekkan also notes that tall men may be more likely than tall women to get blood clots because women are usually not tall enough.

It is important to know who is at risk of clotting, says Braekkan, so that doctors can help patients avoid a life-threatening clot.

The Study

  • Dr. Braekken and colleagues wanted to study the relationship between body size and risk of venous thromboemolism - the combination of blood clots in the legs and the blood vessels of the lungs
  • They looked at measures of height and obesity in more than 26,000 men and women between the ages of 25 and 97 years
  • Men who were tall (5 ft. 11.7 in. or more) and obese were 5.28 times more likely to have venous thromboembolism, compared to men who were short (5 ft. 7.7 in. or less) and normal weight
  • Men who were tall and normal-weight were 2.57 times more likely to have venous thromboembolism
  • Men who were short and obese were 2.11 times more likely to have venous thromboembolism
  • Women who were tall and obese were 2.77 times more likely to have venous thromboembolism, compared to women who were short and normal-weight
  • Women who were short and obese were 1.83 times more likely to have venous thromboembolism
  • Tall, normal-weight women had no increased risk for venous thromboembolism 
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Review Date: 
April 29, 2011