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Genetic factors can play a major role in heart risk

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Genetic factors can be the underlying cause of many high cholesterol test results, and could also result in a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease and heart attack, according to a new study from University of Pennsylvania researchers.

Doctors have long noted an association between cholesterol and genes. However, they were hard pressed to explain the degree to which hereditary factors seem to influence an individual's risk of developing heart disease.

For the study, researchers compared the complete genomes of nearly 20,000 participants, some of whom had heart disease or a history of heart attack, and others who were healthy. They found that certain genetic characteristics are associated with an increased risk of high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and heart attack.

They said that their findings could be used by doctors to provide early screening to patients who are at the greatest risk. Doctors who find that their patients have certain genetic profiles may be able to recommend further cholesterol testing to determine if they are at risk for complications.

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