The Tall Street Journal

Growing up I regularly had heart palpitations, aka just beating really hard in my chest, even if I was just laying around. Of course, this was of great concern, and finally one day I went to the Georgia Tech Health Center. Unfortunately, they got an irregular EKG (heart monitoring machine reading) back on my report. They immediately sent me to Emory to get further testing. For a month I had to wear a heart monitor, record its patterns when it went crazy and then phone them into the hospital. At the end of the ordeal, they had no idea what the problem was.

I found out later in life, my uncle also experienced something similar growing up and so have other tall people I've asked about it. Then a few months ago a friend of mine, Marge Tamas, who is a medical writer at my company passed on some new information regarding the QT Interval.

The QT Interval represents the conduction delay between the time that the ventricles fire off and the heart muscle recharges. Basically, its a timing mechanism and longer intervals in the EKG tell healthcare professionals something could be wrong. Well, in a recent study, they have discovered that people with bigger hearts (aka taller people and athletes) will naturally have longer QT intervals because the heart is bigger.

This is by no means to say not to worry if you are having heart problems, definitely see your physician. However, at the time I was diagnosed with what I suppose was a longer QT, I was told by a crying nurse that I could die at any minute. Now that may be a bit overboard and tramatic to a 19 year old trying to play college basketball at the time.

Here is the article
http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTON40532920080124

Any other stories on heart and cardio stuff some may care to share?

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I had palpitations all my life. It got to the point that i was taking all the meds they could give me and it still happened. Then would have to go to the ER and get flat-lined and re-started. Not fun.
Finally I went and had cardiac ablation. Thats when they go in thru the leg and kill part of the heart with RF (radio frequency). It was an uncomfortable procedure, but it was absalutely life changing. I am so glad I did it. no more palpitations at all!

The 5 stents I have are a different story.......
This is interesting. Last time I had a full medical the doctor was telling me my heart sounded irregular and he wanted me to wear a heart monitor for 24 hours. I never did that but my grandpa did have a couple of heart attacks. Has anyone in your family had heart attacks?
My dad is 6'5 and had a heart attack around 50 or so I guess. I'm not very close with him.

I really wish I could find a "tall" doctor, like a doctor that specializes in "tallness". Hopefully one day we will get a doctor on here that specializes in this sort of thing. I think it would be awesome and if they were within a few hours of Atlanta, I'd change doctors immediately and drive the distance every year or so for a physical.
I keep looking. It is kind of shocking that it isn't immediately apparent, and I even work in medical education.

I noticed that Manute Bol (7'7") Former NBA Player passed away this week of a kidney disease. He was 47, no idea if height played a role, but I would like to know.
This is really interesting Cheyenne. I wonder if it makes sense to ask our doctors if there are informal ways they can talk to other doctors. Really tall people, like you - I'm not that tall, are pretty rare and most doctors never see any. If they could compare notes and compile data it would be good. Maybe a good place to start is with doctors who happen to be tall.

I go to a sport medicine doctor and PT when I am injured from my running and they do tell me things to do and not do given my height. I will ask where they learned this and how they communicate.

My family is not tall, but some heart conditions are common, so I was advised to change my diet and exercise. It was stressed particularly because I am tall. but I don't know if they have good reasons to suggest that for tall people.
I wrote a little piece on exercises based on what I was hearing from the sports doctor and PT I visit. I am not a medical type, so use caution. I do get a lot of exercise though...

http://www.thetallstreetjournal.com/profiles/blogs/exercises-for-ta...

My family and extended family are not tall, I'm the exception by a good margin. We do have a lot of heart disease and everyone is rail thin. For the heart disease I don't know how much of that is hereditary and how much is bad eating, but my doctor told me that taller people should be careful with their hearts and have good eating and exercise habits. She also stresses good posture and exercise to prevent back problems later in life. I've become pretty religious about this and practice a Mediterranean vegetarian (not vegan) diet.

I have heard some rules of thumb for heights above which there are a variety of problems. There are also studies that look at breast cancer and skin melanoma issues due to excessive growth hormone. I've read through some of them and some are in conflict with others.

There are some very tall people here who probably have some good knowledge. Cheyenne and Dave Rasmussen for example.

I have not done this, but one approach would be to get in contact with researchers in hospitals who study pituitary issues as well as Marfan's. They may have connections with doctors who are used to issues of tallness.

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