Saturday, April 29, 2006

It's Mom's fault?

A patient's history of maternal coronary heart disease is a more significant risk factor than a paternal history, investigators reported here. But the risk escalates even more when both parents had the disease.

Compared with male patients with no family history of heart disease, men had a 55% greater risk of developing heart disease if they had a maternal history of coronary heart disease . Their risk was 41% greater if they had a paternal coronary heart disease history.

If both parents had heart disease, the risk for men more than doubled. For younger men, ages 30 to 39, the risk was up 500%.

Maternal transmission was also stronger in women, compared with reference women whose parents were not affected. Women had a 43% increased risk for maternal transmission, compared with a 17% increased risk for paternal transmission.

If both parents had coronary heart disease, the risks for women rose to 82%. Furthermore, like the men, the highest risk—up more than 450%—was found in the youngest age group, women 30 to 39.

The differences in percentages between men and women were not fully explained in the study. The transmission of coronary heart disease could be mediated through diabetes and hypertension but also through other genetic, biochemical, or behavioral factors.

However, study authors hypothesized that the increased maternal transmission may have been attributable to behavioral risk factors and to the fact that children spend more time with their mothers. As a result, children might be likely to pick up a mother's risky habits such as poor diet, smoking, and physical inactivity.

Now, that we're adults, and we have gotten over blaming our parents for all our thoughts and actions, isn't it time to get off the couch, get into the gym and the healthy kitchen, and take on Mom's genes?

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