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Parental History Predicts Risk of Heart Attack

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ONTARIO, Canada) -- It has long been known that a family history of heart disease is a risk factor for heart attack, but scientists have identified a number of genes and factors of environment and behavior that increase the risk of heart disease.

The international research compared over fifteen thousand patients who survived a heart attack to people who never had one. The result is called the "interheart" study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 

The question: if one or both of your parents had heart attacks, does that affect your risk of having one, even after accounting for other genetic and behavioral risks such as smoking and drinking alcohol? The answer: having a parental history of heart attack increases your risk by an average of 74 per cent. If one parent had a heart attack over 50 years of age, your risk goes up 67 per cent, under 50 your risk increases by 136 per cent. If both your parents had heart attacks over age fifty, that puts you at a 190 per cent greater risk and if they both had heart attacks under fifty, your risk soars by a whopping 226 per cent.    

The study's conclusion is a parental history of heart attacks is a significant, independent predictor of heart attack.    

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