New evidence suggests that if you could choose your parents, you could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers from the long-standing Framingham Heart Study (FHS), a program of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, report that people whose parents live longer were more likely to avoid developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease in middle age than their peers whose parents died younger. They also found that the risk factor advantages persisted over time.
According to the researchers, this is the first study to examine cardiovascular risk factors in the offspring of longer-lived individuals using independent and validated measurements of risk. The findings are consistent with other studies that have linked lower cardiovascular risk with parental longevity based on self-reports of family history.
The study appears in the March 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
* Framingham Heart Study, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/framingham/index.html
* Your Guide to a Healthy Heart, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/other/your_guide/healthyheart.htm
NHLBI Communications Office
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