Height Check: Could Your Stature Signal Heart Attack Risk?

A little-known fact is that heart issues are often caused by the buildup of calcium in the arteries. Researchers have developed a simple ruler trick to help you potentially gauge your risk of excess coronary artery calcium (CAC). Why is this important? Excess CAC can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease by a factor of 10.

A Promising Study

A study conducted at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation revealed that taller individuals may have less calcified plaque in their arteries. As a result, their chances of developing heart disease are significantly lower. Over 2,700 patients participated in the government-sponsored Family Heart Study, which aims to examine the connection between risk factors and heart disease. The findings demonstrated that adults who are taller than average typically have lower levels of plaque and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

Height Offers Mysterious Protection

At this moment, researchers are unsure why being taller appears to protect a person’s arteries. While some studies imply that taller people naturally possess favorable changes in their blood pressure due to their height, research shows that these changes are quite small. As a result, it’s unlikely these changes are the sole cause of the connection between height and a lower risk for heart disease.

Researcher Michael Miedema believes this relationship could be mediated through a common link, such as the environment, one is exposed to during childhood or their childhood nutrition. Both factors could determine a person’s adult height, as well as their vulnerability to future coronary heart disease.

Key Factors Affecting Calcium Build-Up

Although height plays a role in reducing the risk of heart disease, it is not the only factor. It is important to also consider other potential causes for the buildup of calcium in your arteries.

Poor Diet

Eating too many sugar-loaded and high-fat foods can increase cholesterol levels in your blood, which subsequently increases the calcification in your coronary arteries. Incorporating fresh greens, lean protein, and healthy fats into your daily diet can significantly decrease the likelihood of calcium deposits.

Lack of Exercise

Exercise increases cardiovascular strength and keeps your arteries in good shape. If you’re not regularly exercising, your body is more susceptible to calcium build-up. Additionally, lack of exercise can lead to weight gain, which is a factor in developing high cholesterol and heart issues.


Genetics also plays a key role in your overall health and risk for heart disease. If heart issues run in your family, it’s crucial to pay extra attention to the health of your arteries. Speak with your doctor to determine possible tests you can undergo to measure calcium plaque in your arteries.


As you age, you tend to become more susceptible to calcium build-up and heart issues. It’s vital to maintain a healthier lifestyle as you grow older in order to combat the natural process of calcium accumulation in your arteries.

Uncontrolled Blood Sugar

Individuals with diabetes or uncontrolled blood sugar levels should pay extra attention to their heart health. High blood sugar increases calcium build-up in the arteries, putting you at high risk for heart issues.

Tips to Protect Your Heart

While height could provide some protection, it’s essential not to rely solely on this factor as a means to protect the health of your heart. Adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle, which could lead to a decrease in the chance of calcium plaque buildup and heart issues.

  1. Adopt a balanced, nutritious diet plan rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
  2. Engage in regular physical activity. At minimum, aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, or 150 minutes per week.
  3. Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake as both can negatively impact your heart health and raise your chances of developing heart issues.
  4. Get regular check-ups with your doctor, particularly if you have other health issues like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Establish a plan for managing these conditions in order to protect your heart.
  5. Maintain a healthy weight to decrease the risk of hypertension and heart disease.
  6. Focus on stress management through activities such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.

Implementing these lifestyle changes may seem overwhelming, but taking even small steps toward improving your health will benefit your heart and overall well-being. Remember, the key to protecting your heart is consistency and commitment.