Coronary Artery Disease: Family History

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Topic Overview

People with one or moreclose relativeswho have or had earlycoronary artery disease(CAD) are at an increased risk for CAD. For men, early CAD is being diagnosed before age 55. For women, early CAD is being diagnosed before 65.footnote 1

A tendency to develop certain risk factors, such ashigh cholesterolandhigh blood pressure, may be related to specific inheritedgenes. Genes are passed on from parent to child and are like the blueprints of the body. They are a code that determines how our bodies are made and how they function.

Inheritedlipid disorderscan contribute toatherosclerosisand may lead to early CAD. Although family-related behaviors also contribute to the risk of developing CAD, researchers are still working to understand exactly why CAD runs in families.

Behavior or genetics?

In addition to inherited factors, there is probably a large environmental component to the increased risk seen in some families. People who smoke expose their family members tosecondhand smoke, increasing the risk of heart disease in their family members. Children of parents who smoke are more likely to smoke than children of nonsmokers. Dietary habits may also play a role. Families who eat fatty diets are more likely to develop CAD than those who eat more balanced diets.

Addressing each of these family-related behaviors may greatly reduce your chance of developing CAD.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Goff DC Jr, et al. (2013). 2013 ACC/AHA guideline on the assessment of cardiovascular risk: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation, published online November 12, 2013. DOI: 10.1161/01.cir.0000437741.48606.98. Accessed November 22, 2013.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

Current as ofDecember 6, 2017