Lifestyle Risk Factors Contribute to Risk of Premature Coronary Artery Disease More Than Genetics
Cardiac disorders can be inherited, including arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy, and high blood cholesterol. However, a new study suggests that lifestyle risk factors play a greater role than genetics in the risk of premature coronary artery disease.
Participants in the study included 1,075 adults under the age of 50. Half of the participants had premature coronary artery disease. The other half did not and acted as controls. The researchers assessed five modifiable lifestyle risk factors: physical inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. In addition, all participants underwent genome sequencing, and the researchers developed a genetic risk score for each participant.
The researchers found that 73% of the participants with premature coronary artery disease had at least three of the lifestyle risk factors, compared to 31% of the control participants. The likelihood of developing premature coronary artery disease increased exponentially with each additional risk factor. The probability was 3, 7, and 24 times higher with 1, 2, or 3 risk factors, respectively.
The average genetic risk score was higher in participants with premature coronary artery disease. However, the risk of coronary artery disease attributable to genetics declined as the number of modifiable risk factors present increased.
The study was conducted by researchers from Funchal Hospital, Portugal. It was presented on September 2, 2019 at the European Society of Cardiology Congress.