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Genes Give You Mom’s Eyes and Dad’s Heart Problems

GeneticsA new study out of Britain has proven that you are justified in blaming your parents when things go wrong. Or, at least you can when those things affect your heart.

Amitava Banerjee, a cardiovascular medicine expert from the University of Birmingham in England, led a team of researchers in studying the role of genetics in heart attacks and strokes. The group looked at the medical histories of nearly 2,000 people who had either had a heart attack or a stroke.

Among stroke survivors, 21% had a parent who had suffered a stroke and 8% had a brother or sister who had a stroke. On the other hand, of heart attack survivors, 30% had a parent with a heart attack and 21% had a sibling with a heart attack.

Researchers found that if one parent had a heart attack, their child was 1.5 times more likely to have one as well; if both parents had a heart attack, the child is six times more likely to have one in the future.

These findings established that doctors should be much more cautious with patients who have a strong family history of cardiac issues. The study also reinforces the fact that people with cardiac risk factors need to take extra precautions to protect their heart.

If you have one or more family members who have had heart attacks, take the following steps to make sure you avoid one yourself:

  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Check your cholesterol
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise 3-5 times each week

To get more personalized health information or to learn about how your family medical history impacts you, schedule a visit with your local cardiologist today.

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