Family History of Heart Disease
People with one or more Reference close relatives Opens New Window who have or had early Reference coronary artery disease Opens New Window (CAD) are at an increased risk for CAD. For men, early CAD is being diagnosed before age 55. For women, early CAD is being diagnosed before 65.Reference 1
A tendency to develop certain risk factors, such as Reference high cholesterol Opens New Window and Reference high blood pressure Opens New Window, may be related to specific inherited Reference genes Opens New Window. Genes are passed on from parent to child and are like the blueprints of the body. They are a code that determines how our bodies are made and how they function.
Inherited Reference lipid disorders Opens New Window can contribute to Reference atherosclerosis Opens New Window and may lead to early CAD. Although family-related behaviors also contribute to the risk of developing CAD, researchers are still working to understand exactly why CAD runs in families.
Behavior or genetics?
In addition to inherited factors, there is probably a large environmental component to the increased risk seen in some families. People who smoke expose their family members to Reference secondhand smoke Opens New Window, increasing the risk of heart disease in their family members. Children of parents who smoke are more likely to smoke than children of nonsmokers. Dietary habits may also play a role. Families who eat fatty diets are more likely to develop CAD than those who eat more balanced diets.
Addressing each of these family-related behaviors may greatly reduce your chance of developing CAD.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 6, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Reference Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology