Saturday December 7, 2019

Taller People Likely To Have An Irregular Heartbeat: Study

Study says that taller people face the risk of irregular and rapid heartbeat

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heartbeat in tall people
Researchers have found that taller people have an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AFib) and an irregular heartbeat. Pixabay

Researchers have found that taller people have an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AFib), an irregular and often rapid heartbeat that can lead to stroke, heart failure and other complications.

The research, which reveals a strong link between the genetic variants associated with height and one’s risk for AFib, is the among the first to demonstrate that height may be a causal–not correlated–risk factor for AFib. o

Researchers found that the risk for AFib climbed as one’s height increased, with every one-inch increase in height translating to about a three percent increase in risk of Afib–independent of other clinical factors–as compared to those at average height (5 feet and 7 inches).

“Our findings suggest it may be beneficial to incorporate height into risk-prediction tools for AFib,” said the study’s lead author Michael Levin from University of Pennsylvania.

“While current guidelines advise against widespread screening for AFib, our findings show that a certain group of patients–specifically, very tall patients–may benefit from screening,” Levin added.

AFib, which affects more than 33 million people worldwide, is a common, abnormal heart rhythm.

There are a number of clinical risk factors for developing AFib, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Observational studies, examining population-level data, have found that taller individuals appear to have a higher risk of developing AFib.

To further examine the association between height and Afib, the research team leveraged data from the Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Trials (GIANT) consortium, which studied more than 700,000 individuals to identify genetic variants associated with height.

Heartbeat
Risk factors such as irregular heartbeat, heart failures, stroke in tall people. Pixabay

They also examined data from the Atrial Fibrillation Genetics (AFGen) consortium, which studied more than 500,000 individuals to identify genetic variants associated with AFib.

The authors employed a statistical method which uses genetics to precisely estimate the relationship between two traits.

Their analysis revealed that genetic variants associated with height were also strongly associated with Afib, suggesting that increased height may be a cause of atrial fibrillation.

This relationship remained strong even after adjusting for traditional AFib risk factors, like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, among others.

From there, researchers used a similar statistical method to conduct an individual-level analysis of nearly 7,000 individuals enrolled in the Penn Medicine Biobank.

They found that height, and genetic variants associated with height, are strongly associated with an increased risk of AFib, independent from traditional clinical and echocardiographic risk factors.

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“These analyses show how we can use human genetics to help us better understand causal risk factors for common disease,” said the study’s senior author Scott Damrauer.

The study is scheduled to be presented at American Heart Association 2019 Scientific Sessions in Pennsylvania, US. (IANS)

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Cancer Patients Are More Prone To Death From A Stroke: Study

One explanation for the increased risk could be that many people who are diagnosed with cancer are in a 'prothrombotic' state, which means they are more likely to form a blood clot

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Stroke
Additionally, they found that among those diagnosed with Cancer before they turned 40, most Stroke occurred in people treated for brain tumors and lymphomas. Pixabay

People living with Cancer are more than twice as likely to die of a stroke, compared to the general population say researchers, adding that the risk increases with time.

Cancers of the breast, prostate or colorectum were the type most commonly associated with fatal stroke, said the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

According the researchers, previous research has shown that most cancer patients aren’t going to die of their cancer, they are going to die of something else.

“A stroke is one possibility. Our findings suggest that patients may benefit from a screening program to help prevent some of these early deaths from stroke, as well as help identify which patients we could target with those preventative efforts,” said study researcher Nicholas Zaorsky, Assistant Professor at Penn State University in the US.

For the findings, the researchers used data gathered from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) programme.

SEER includes data about cancer incidence, survival, treatment and age and year of diagnosis, and covers 28 per cent of the US population.

They used SEER data on more than 7.2 million patients who had been diagnosed with invasive cancer — cancer that has spread beyond the tissue in which it originally developed — between 1992 and 2015.

The researchers found that out of 7,529,481 cancer patients, 80,513 died of a stroke.

Males and females had equal chances of dying from a stroke, but those diagnosed with cancer at a younger age had a higher chance of a fatal stroke.

Stroke
People living with Cancer are more than twice as likely to die of a Stroke, compared to the general population say researchers, adding that the risk increases with time. Pixabay

Additionally, they found that among those diagnosed with cancer before they turned 40, most strokes occurred in people treated for brain tumors and lymphomas.

In patients diagnosed with cancer above the age of 40, fatal strokes were most commonly associated with cancer of the prostate, breast and colorectum.

One explanation for the increased risk could be that many people who are diagnosed with cancer are in a ‘prothrombotic’ state, which means they are more likely to form a blood clot, Zaorsky said.

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“That blood clot may then go to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, for example, or cause a stroke if it goes to the brain,” Zaorsky added.

The researchers added that future studies could help pinpoint mechanisms and further establish the relationship between cancer and strokes. (IANS)