Could Your Height Shorten Your Life?

Justin Caba sat and watched a basketball game. His mind however, was far from the friendly competition.

Watching his favorite players, all far taller than average, made him wonder about their lives. Athletes tend to be in better shape than the typical citizen but Justin wondered if the very thing that gives basketball players an advantage on the court…their height…could be indicative of a shorter lifespan.

Realizing that some of the tallest basketball players in NBA history are still alive was comforting but in honor of his favorite player, Kristaps Porzingis with the New York Knicks(7’3”), he decided to do some research.

Justin found that people suffering from gigantism or acromegaly, caused by a benign tumor on the pituitary gland, did often live approximately 10 years less than the average person.

This being said, both are treatable and it’s the complications associated with advanced cases that are often what can lead to fatality. The statistics should definitely be taken with a grain of salt.

Unfortunately both disorders are often undiagnosed for long periods of time. A remedy to this is simply an increase in awareness.  The more people who know about gigantism and acromegaly, the sooner symptoms will be recognized and a diagnosis given. This will help patients avoid developing arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

When Justin looked into tall people without gigantism or acromegaly he found multiple studies indicating that even naturally occurring extra height can mean a higher risk for cancer. Taller also means larger organs which can cause problems such as those associated with cardiomegaly. Some studies have also shown a greater chance of respiratory problems.

However, Justin came to the conclusion after all his research that there is very little point of
worrying about these odds because most of us don’t have any control over our height. If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of gigantism or acromegaly, see a specialist as soon as possible to start receiving to treatment. You can very likely keep your slow-progressing disease from becoming too dangerous.

If you’re short, Justin would advise your take-away to be that height isn’t necessarily all it’s
cracked up to be.


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