Short kids at greater stroke risk in adulthood

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New York, Feb 16 (IANS) Children with below-average height may be at higher risk of suffering a stroke in adulthood, warns a new study.

Researchers noted that boys and girls who are two to three inches shorter than average for their age are at increased risk of clot-related (ischemic) stroke — which happens when the blood and oxygen flow to the brain is obstructed suddenly — when they grow up.

In addition, the risk of bleeding stroke — a condition whereby ruptured blood vessels cause bleeding inside the brain — is even more common in men.

While adult height is genetically determined, it is also influenced by factors such as maternal diet during pregnancy, childhood diet, infection and psychological stress.

Several of these factors are modifiable and all are thought to affect the risk of stroke.

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For the study, published in the journal Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, the team examined data on more than 300,000 Danish school children at seven, 10 and 13 years of age.

“Our study suggests that short height in children is a possible marker of stroke risk and suggests these children should pay extra attention to changing or treating modifiable risk factors for stroke throughout life to reduce the chances of having this disease,” said senior study author Jennifer L. Baker, Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

The researchers noted that a decline in stroke incidence and mortality rates in most high-income countries, primarily in women, occurred simultaneously with a general increase in attained adult height.

–IANS

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