December 7, 2016 – Genetic Heart Risk


Anchor lead: Is there a way to overcome a genetic risk for heart problems? Elizabeth Tracey reports

There’s good news from a study of overcoming genetic risk of heart disease at the recent American Heart Association meeting. Michael Blaha, a preventive cardiology expert at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Blaha: Patients commonly ask me, how do I mitigate the genetic risk of heart disease that I have given the fact that my dad or grandfather had a heart attack? Now we have strong data that suggest that diet and exercise therapy strongly mitigates the genetic risk. This study looked at patients who had high genetic risk for coronary heart disease and then looked at their lifestyle habits.  Those patients with the strongest lifestyle habits, healthy diet, nonsmoking, and exercising,  had greater than 50% reduction in the cardiovascular risk compared to those people who had unhealthy lifestyle but similar genetic risk.  :33

Blaha says this risk reduction can translate to that of a person with no family history of cardiovascular disease.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.