KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — A presentation at the European Society of Cardiologists Congress 2019 and World Congress of Cardiology has made a case that while genetics is a significant contributor to premature heart disease, healthy behaviours would help reduce its early onset.
Genetics should not be used as an excuse to say that the disease is inevitable.
Findings indicate that physical inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol play a greater role than genetics in many young patients with heart disease.
The study enrolled 1,075 patients under 50 years of age. 87 percent were men with the average age being 45. Around half had coronary artery disease. Specific conditions included stable angina, heart attack, and unstable angina. Their risk factor levels and genetics were compared to a control group of 520 healthy volunteers, similar age range and most were men.
Five modifiable risk factors were reviewed, namely physical inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Nearly 75 percent of patients had at least three of these risk factors compared to 31 percent of controls.
In both groups, the likelihood of developing coronary artery disease increased exponentially with each additional risk factor.
“Our study provides strong evidence that people with a family history of premature heart disease should adopt healthy lifestyles, since their poor behaviours may be a greater contributor to heart disease than their genetics. That means quit smoking, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and get blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked,” concluded study author Dr Joao A. Sousa of Funchal Hospital, Portugal.