Genetic heart disease not inevitable
A new study into genetic heart disease involving more than 55,000 people has found that a genetic predisposition for heart disease does not necessarily mean it is inevitable. The study published in The New England Journal of Medicine is the first attempt to tease apart the effects of genes and lifestyle choices in heart disease.
Researchers found that genes can double the risk of heart disease but a healthy lifestyle can cut the risk by half. The scientists developed a genetic score based on 50 genes associated with heart disease, then developed a lifestyle score based on whether people smoked, exercised more than once a week, were obese and whether they were eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fish and nuts.
"DNA is not destiny, it is not deterministic for this disease," said Dr Sekar Kathiresan director of the Center for Human Genetic Research at Massachusetts General Hospital. "You do have control over the problem, even if you have been dealt a bad genetic hand."