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Diagnostic tests may assess risk of heart failure

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

In a recent study, genetic testing of heart disease patients helped doctors establish a link between exposure to vitamin D and the risk of developing the condition.

According to the analysis, which was published in the November issue of Pharmacogenomics, people with high blood pressure and a gene variant that inhibits the body's use of vitamin D were twice as likely as those without the mutation to have congestive heart failure, The Medical News reports.

"This study is the first indication of a genetic link between vitamin D action and heart disease," said Robert Simpson, professor of pharmacology at the University of Michigan Medical School.

He added that if the findings are confirmed, "this means that, in the future, we may be able to screen earlier for those most vulnerable and slow the progress of the disease."

Simpson and colleagues analyzed the genetic profiles of 617 people, and found that a variant in the CYP27B1 gene was associated with heart disease in those already experiencing hypertension.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2005 heart disease was responsible for 27.1 percent of all deaths in the U.S.

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