Medicine has become too obsessed with genetics and family history when trying to calculate the risk of a heart attack. Lifestyle habits trump the DNA we're born with every time, a new study has discovered.
People with an existing heart problem won't necessarily have a heart attack, even if their genetics and family history suggest they are at high risk.
Instead, heart patients have far more control over the likelihood of an attack than medicine realises by making good lifestyle choices such as eating healthily, exercising and not smoking, say researchers from the Intermountain Medical Centre Heart Institute.
They analysed the records of patients with heart disease at different stages, and discovered that the link between a family history of heart disease and the likelihood of a heart attack was far less strong than had been expected. Even patients with narrowed arteries-one of the indicators of a heart attack-can control the risk by changing their lifestyle, they found.
(Source: Proceedings of the American Society of Human Genetics, San Diego, October 20, 2014)