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Coronary Artery Disease: Family History

Overview

You're more likely to have coronary artery disease if you have one or more close relatives who had early coronary artery disease. For men, this means being diagnosed before age 55. For women, it means being diagnosed before 65.footnote 1

Things that increase your risk include:

Inherited risk factors.

A tendency to develop some risk factors for coronary artery disease, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, may be related to certain inherited genes. Inherited lipid disorders can contribute to atherosclerosis and may lead to early coronary artery disease. Experts are working to understand exactly why the disease runs in families.

Lifestyle factors.

Along with inherited genes, lifestyle choices are probably a large part of the increased risk seen in some families. People who smoke expose their family to secondhand smoke. This increases the risk of heart disease in their family members. Children of parents who smoke are more likely to smoke than children of nonsmokers. Dietary habits may also play a role. Families who eat fatty diets are more likely to develop coronary artery disease than those who eat more balanced diets. Changing these behaviors may greatly reduce your chance of having coronary artery disease.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Grundy SM, et al. (2018). 2018 AHA/ACC/AACVPR/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/ADA/AGS/APhA/ASPC/NLA/PCNA guideline on the management of blood cholesterol: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association task force on clinical practice guidelines. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, published online November 8, 2018: S0735. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2018.11.003. Accessed January 28, 2019.

Credits

Current as of: September 7, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine