THE taller you are the more likely you are to suffer a stroke, doctors have warned.
They found height could be linked to having an irregular, often rapid heartbeat.
Atrial fibrillation or AFib is a condition that can cause palpitations, where it feels like your heart is pounding in your chest.
It affects around one million Brits, and increases the risk of deadly complications like stroke and heart failure.
No one really knows what causes AFib, but it is more common in people over the age of 65, according to the NHS.
It can be triggered by lifestyle factors like drinking too much booze and smoking.
And now, a study by experts at Penn Medicine, suggests people who are taller than 5ft 7ins are also at greater risk.
They found that for every extra inch in height - a person's risk of AFib increased by 3 per cent.
The study's lead author, Dr Michael Levin, said: "Our findings suggest it may be beneficial to incorporate height into risk-prediction tools for AFib.
"Our findings show that a certain group of patients - specifically, very tall patients - may benefit from screening."
As well as height, Dr Levin said other risk factors for AFib include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Past studies have found that taller people have a greater risk of the condition.
Just a coincidence?
But questions still exist as to whether height can cause AFib - or if it's just a coincidence.
Dr Levin's team looked at two sets of data.
First, they analysed medical records of 700,000 people to look at the genetic variants linked to height.
And secondly, they looked at data on 500,000 people to identify any genetic links with AFib.
The scientists then used a statistical method to estimate a relationship between the two traits.
They found the genetic variants linked to height were strongly linked to AFib.
Dr Levin said the findings "suggest that increased height may be a cause of atrial fibrillation".
ACT FAST: The signs of stroke you need to know
A STROKE happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off.
Blood carries oxygen to the brain, and without it brain cells will begin to die off.
This is what causes the damage to other parts of the body, in stroke victims – for example speech problems or a weakness on one side.
There are two different types of stroke.
An ischaemic stroke is the most common, and is caused by a blockage cutting off the blood supply to the brain.
In contrast a haemorrhagic stroke is caused by bleeding in or around the brain.
Using the FAST test method can help recognise key symptoms of stroke…
Face - Can they smile? Does one side droop?
Arm - Can they lift both arms? Is one weak?
Speech - Is their speech slurred or muddled?
Time - Time to call 999
- sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
- difficulty finding words
- sudden blurred vision or loss of sight
- sudden confusion, dizziness or unsteadiness
- a sudden and severe headache
- difficulty understanding what others are saying
- difficulty swallowing
For more information visit the Stroke Association's website here.
MOST READ IN HEALTH
He added the link was still "strong" after they took into account traditional AFib risk factors, like high blood pressure and diabetes.
Dr Scott Damrauer, who was also involved in the study, said: "These analyses show how we can use human genetics to help us better understand causal risk factors for common disease."
The findings will be presented on Saturday at the American Heart Association's 2019 Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia.