Short legs linked to liver disease risk

Women with short legs are at an increased risk of liver disease, according to UK research.

Those with short legs were found to have higher levels of four key liver enzymes, which can indicate how well the liver is working and whether it is damaged, compared with women with long legs.

Researchers examined 3,600 women aged 60 to 79 years who had been randomly selected from 23 towns across Britain.

Standing and seated height was measured to include leg and trunk length, while blood samples were taken to measure the levels of the liver enzymes, ALT, GGT, AST and ALP. The women were also questioned about their medical history, lifestyle and social class, all of which can influence health.

Women with short legs, 49-74cm, were found to have higher levels of ALT, GGT and ALP, than women with long legs, 77-100cm.

ALP levels, in particular, were high among women with short legs at 84.4u/l compared with women with long legs, 80.88u/l.

The researchers propose that ‘greater height may boost the size of the liver, which may decrease enzyme levels so ensuring that the liver is able to withstand chemical onslaught more effectively’.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

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