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Family History Almost Doubles Risk of Future Heart Attack

Posted Jan 26 2011 8:08pm

image by dream designs

Cardiologists worldwide have known for many years that family history is important when considering risk factors for heart attack.

A new study called INTERHEART now gives that risk a number…and it’s higher than many had expected!  After reviewing the cases of more than 12,000 patients, the INTERHEART researchers have found that a patient’s risk of heart attack nearly doubles if they had one parent with a history of a heart attack.

The increased risk held true even when they looked at genetic markers for heart attack.  Despite carrying genetic markers for heart attacks, some patients may never have a heart attack.  Of all the patients in the study who did carry the gene for heart attacks, people with a family history were much more likely to have a heart attack themselves.

Essentially this study proves that the medical community needs to be more aggressive in treating patients with a significant family history of heart attacks.  Currently the risk assessment guidelines do NOT include family history.  The guidelines need to be updated but until then patients need to be proactive in getting the best heart care possible.

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