If you're short, you already know that you have a leg up (hardy har) on people when it comes to travelling. Your compact size means you fit into those tin can airplane seats with scarcely a worry and you can be the hero by taking the middle option in a car.
Now, a new study in a journal from the American Heart Association is saying there's another issue that is far less likely to concern you — blood clots.
Blood clots, known in the medical world as venous thromboembolism (VTE), have an association with long-distance travel (any trip about four hours or longer), as the longer you are immobile, the greater your risk for developing a clot, notes the CDC.
The clot can either form a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), usually in the leg and causing swelling, or more dangerously, can become a pulmonary embolism, which is when part of the clot breaks off and travels through veins to the lungs, potentially blocking airflow and leading to serious illness and/or death.
The new study looked at more than two million Swedish people: men who were soldiers from 1969 to 2010 and women who were pregnant for the first time from 1982 to 2012 (pregnancy can be a trigger for blood clots), and determined their risk for VTE. They made sure to keep it confined to sibling pairs to account for genetic and environmental factors.
And guess what? Short people — men 5'3" or shorter and women 5'1" or shorter — were found to be much less likely to get blood clots, and in general, the shorter you were, the less your risk.
It could just be that because taller individuals have longer leg veins there is more surface area where problems can occur.
Lead researcher Bengt Zöller notes that gravity could be to thank (or blame, depending on your height) for this effect, due to size.
"It could just be that because taller individuals have longer leg veins there is more surface area where problems can occur," he said. "There is also more gravitational pressure in leg veins of taller persons that can increase the risk of blood flow slowing or temporarily stopping."
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But if you're on the taller side, there are still things you can do to prevent VTE. The easiest thing is to move, literally get out of your seat and walk around the plane a bit, or make sure to take a rest stop on a road trip at least every couple of hours.
And if you do get a blood clot, there are also medications that can be taken to break it down and prevent further complications.
But if you're the shortie stuck in the middle of the row, at least you have better odds of making it out of that trip with your health intact.
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