What Role Does Genetics Play in Heart Health?

Our futures are not solely determined by our genetic makeup, according to recently published data. For adults with a high genetic risk for heart disease, healthy lifestyle choices can diminish cardiovascular risk by half, based on results of a recent analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine. This comprehensive study of four different patient-groups evaluated genetic and lifestyle information on over 55,000 adults. The goal was to assess the impact of both genetics and lifestyle choices regarding the risk for heart disease and heart related death.

How the Study Was Done

Researchers divided participants into four different groups, dependent upon what the genetic risk was for each individual. Genetic risk was based on many high-risk genetic markers known to predispose people to adverse cardiovascular events. Additionally, patients’ lifestyles were assessed for the presence of four favorable factors: refraining from smoking; avoiding obesity (having a Body Mass Index under 30); engaging in regular physical activity at least one day a week; and eating a healthy diet.  Participants in the study were followed for approximately 20 years.

What Was Discovered?

Researchers found that participants with the highest genetic predisposition had 91% greater potential for heart events, compared to those with the lowest risk. However, they also reported  that maintaining a healthy lifestyle helped significantly offset increased genetic risk. This meant consistently incorporating at least three of the factors noted above into everyday life.

When compared to those with zero or one healthy lifestyle factors, a healthy lifestyle was associated with a 46% lower risk for heart events.  Furthermore, the authors found that good genes and a bad lifestyle are the equivalent cardiovascular risk to the worst genetic profile and the best lifestyle.

What Should We Make of The Results?

This research is encouraging, demonstrating that people have control over their cardiovascular health – your destiny is not determined by chromosomes alone. Regardless of your genetic risk, this study should provide further impetus to those concerned about cardiovascular disease. All adults over age 35 should adopt these important healthy lifestyle habits.

Be PROACTIVE with the Help of PCNY and Dr. Lee Marcus

Adopt health lifestyle habits, take prescribed medications, and see your doctor to maintain a healthy heart.

Cardiovascular disease has remained the leading killer of Americans for the past 87 years. Take control of your cardiovascular destiny by undergoing a thorough Preventive Cardiology evaluation, such as those performed at Preventive Cardiology of New York. This unique, personalized examination goes beyond genetic risk factors to identify the presence of cardiovascular disease often 10-20 years before symptoms become manifested.

If you would like to learn more about our services, call today at (646) 661-2427.