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Beware! Short children could be at a higher risk of stroke in adulthood


New Delhi: A study has warned that children with below-average height could be at an increased risk of suffering a stroke when they grow up.

Children – irrespective of their gender – who are two to three inches shorter than average for their age are at increased risk of clot-related (ischemic) stroke when they grow up, researchers noted.

A stroke happens when the blood and oxygen flow to the brain is suddenly obstructed.

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.

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.