How to reduce genetic heart attack risk?

How to reduce genetic heart attack risk?
Highlights

Following a healthy lifestyle can cut in half the probability of a heart attack or similar events even among those at high genetic risk, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin. 

Following a healthy lifestyle can cut in half the probability of a heart attack or similar events even among those at high genetic risk, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin. "The basic message of our study is that DNA is not destiny," said study senior author Sekar Kathiresan, Director, Center for Human Genetic Research at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US.

"Some people may feel they cannot escape a genetically determined risk for heart attack, but our findings indicate that following a healthy lifestyle can powerfully reduce genetic risk," Kathiresan, who is also Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, said. "Many individuals - both physicians and members of the general public -- have looked on genetic risk as unavoidable, but for heart attack that does not appear to be the case," Kathiresan added.

The researchers analysed genetic and clinical data from more than 55,000 participants in four large-scale studies. Based on data gathered when participants entered each study, the investigators used four lifestyle factors no current smoking; lack of obesity, defined as a body mass index less than 30; physical exercise at least once a week, and a healthy dietary pattern to determine a lifestyle score, whether participants had a favourable (three or four healthy factors), intermediate (two factors) or unfavourable (one or no healthy factors) lifestyle. The researchers found that a higher genetic risk score significantly increased the incidence of coronary events -- as much as 90 per cent in those at highest risk.

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