Lifestyle is the main protagonist of the early onset of heart disease

Physical inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol play a more important role than genetics in the early onset of heart disease, as evidenced by work carried out by experts from Funchal Hospital (Portugal ) and which has been presented at the European Congress of Cardiology (ESC).

The study included 1,075 patients under 50, of which 555 had coronary artery disease (known as premature CAD). Specific conditions included stable and unstable angina and heart attack.

The levels of risk factors and genetics in the patients were compared with a control group of 520 healthy volunteers. All of them were evaluated for physical inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

In this regard, the researchers found that almost three quarters (73%) of the patients had at least three of these risk factors, compared with 31 percent of the controls. In both groups, the probability of developing CAD increased exponentially with each additional risk factor.

On the other hand, all participants underwent genome sequencing. These data were used to develop a genetic risk score that contained 33 variants that are believed to contribute to CAD or risk factors such as high blood pressure.

The average score was higher in patients than in healthy people and was also an independent predictor of premature CAD. However, as the researchers have explained, the contribution of genetics to the risk of CAD decreased as the number of modifiable factors increased.

“The findings show that genetics contributes to CAD. However, in patients with two or more modifiable cardiovascular risk factors, genetics plays a less decisive role in the development of CAD. Our study provides strong evidence that people With a family history of premature heart disease they should adopt healthy lifestyles, since their bad behaviors can contribute more to heart disease than their genetics, “they have settled.


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