Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that sibling history - whether or not a brother or sister had early heart disease - is a better predictor of a persons likelihood of developing coronary heart disease than parental history or traditional risk factor scoring. The results strongly suggest that physicians should pay close attention to their patients who have a sibling with an early history of coronary heart disease.
Their findings, to be published in the journal Circulation online Oct. 4, should make it easier for physicians to determine which patients have early coronary heart disease and which, if any, require aggressive treatment, including dietary changes, increased exercise, stronger attempts at smoking cessation, aspirin therapy and/or cholesterol-lowering and blood pressure lowering therapies.
"Family history has for years been recognized as a risk factor in predicting a persons chance for developing coronary heart disease early on in life - separate from better-known risk factors, such as HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking and age. But we never knew if there was a difference between sibling and parental histories of early heart disease in terms of a given individuals risk of developing early atherosclerosis," said the studys senior author, cardiologist Roger Blumenthal, M.D., an associate professor and the director of the Ciccarone Preventive Cardiology Center at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Blumenthal is also a spokesman for the American Heart Association.
David March | EurekAlert!
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