Heart attack and stroke: genetic predisposition protects

Heart attack and stroke: genetic predisposition protects

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Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels lower the risk

Even a slight genetic reduction in cholesterol and blood pressure can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by up to 80 percent.

The latest study by the internationally highly regarded Cambridge University found that people with a genetic predisposition to reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) and low systolic blood pressure significantly reduced the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "JAMA" and additionally presented at the conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Paris.

Slight lowering can have a big impact

The team examined people with a genetic predisposition to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and the data was then compared to that of other healthy adults to reveal possible differences. The genetically induced lowering of unhealthy cholesterol and blood pressure can have a very positive impact on health and drastically reduce the risk of life for cardiovascular diseases, the researchers report.

What was found in the study?

The data from almost 440,000 people were analyzed for the study. The results show that even small changes have a major impact on the overall mortality rate. The reduction in cholesterol and blood pressure in particular has a positive effect on our life expectancy. The researchers devoted these to LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure, as they are considered to be the main risk factors for heart attacks, strokes and other circulatory diseases. It was found that a genetically induced 1 mmol reduction in unhealthy cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and a 10 mmHg reduction in blood pressure reduced the risk of heart problems by 80 percent.

Healthy lifestyle and medication can reduce high values

The study shows that high blood pressure and high cholesterol are important risk factors for heart attacks and strokes. However, most people do not know their cholesterol levels or their blood pressure. Efforts are also rarely made to lower these values.

The fact that the risk of heart attacks and strokes can be reduced by up to 80 percent even if the LDL cholesterol and blood pressure are slightly reduced will hopefully serve as a motivator for long-term changes in the people affected, even if it is not clear whether the identified benefits also benefit People with no genetic predisposition apply. Millions of people suffer from untreated hypertension or high cholesterol, both of which can be reduced by lifestyle changes and medication. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Brian A. Ference, Deepak L. Bhatt, Alberico L. Catapano, Chris J. Packard, Ian Graham et al .: Association of Genetic Variants Related to Combined Exposure to Lower Low-Density Lipoproteins and Lower Systolic Blood Pressure With Lifetime Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, in JAMA (query: 02.09.2019), JAMA

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