Healthy lifestyles 'can greatly reduce genetic heart attack risk'

16 November 2016

A new study has demonstrated the significant impact that a healthy lifestyle can have on reducing a person's genetic risk of a heart attack.

Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital analysed genetic and clinical data from more than 55,000 participants in four large-scale studies, highlighting the positive benefits that avoiding smoking, reducing weight and getting regular exercise can bring.

Each participant was assigned a genetic risk score, based on whether they carried any of 50 gene variants that previous studies associated with elevated heart attack risk, before identifying whether lifestyle factors had an effect.

It was shown that the presence of positive lifestyle factors significantly altered the risk of coronary events, to the extent that following a favourable lifestyle could reduce the incidence of coronary events by 50 per cent in those with the highest genetic risk scores.

Dr Sekar Kathiresan, director of the Center for Human Genetic Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, 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."

Posted by Jeanette Royston

 


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