Healthy lifestyle wards off heart disease in people with genetic risk

People with a predisposed genetic risk for heart disease can lower the incidence by up to one-half if they maintain a healthy lifestyle, according to a new analysis of data recently published by the New England Journal of Medicine.



According to the study’s authors, genetic and lifestyle factors are key drivers of coronary artery disease, but a healthy lifestyle can reduce rates of cardiovascular events.



Across four studies involving 55,000 participants, genetic and lifestyle factors were independently associated with susceptibility to coronary artery disease. Among participants at high genetic risk, a favorable lifestyle was associated with a nearly 50% lower relative risk of coronary artery disease than was an unfavorable lifestyle.



A healthy lifestyle as defined in the study is not smoking, avoiding obesity, getting regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet of mostly fruits, nuts, vegetables, whole grains, fish and dairy products and little processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and trans fats.





KheraAV, Emdin CA, Drake I, et al. Genetic Risk, Adherence to a Healthy Lifestyle, and Coronary Disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 2016.