WEDNESDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- A mother's history of stroke can help predict a daughter's chances of not only having a stroke but also her chances of having a heart attack, new research shows.
"Our new study shows that stroke in mothers is associated with heart attacks in daughters," said Dr. Amitava Banerjee, a clinical research associate at the Stroke Prevention Research Unit at the University of Oxford, in England.
In other words, a stroke in mothers or other first-degree relatives can help identify women at increased risk for heart attacks -- even if their mother has not had a heart attack.
The research, published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, shows an association, but a cause-and-effect relationship has yet to be determined, Banerjee said.
Putting the research in perspective, he said: "We know that, in men and women, stroke or heart attack in the parents increases the risk of heart attack. Previous studies have not looked at these issues by sex of the parent or sex of the patient and have not looked in a 'prospective' way -- that is, they have not followed up a population over time."
In the new study, Banerjee and his colleagues evaluated 2,210 men and women who had either heart attacks or other coronary syndromes or strokes. Complete family histories were not available for all of them. But the researchers found that more than 24 percent of those who'd had heart attacks and angina -- and about the same percentage of patients who had had strokes or transient ischemic attacks (called TIAs, or mini-strokes) -- had a history of stroke in one or more first-degree relatives, such as their parents or siblings.
This indicates that stroke history in parents and siblings is as important to a person's risk for a heart attack as it is to stroke risk, according to Banerjee.
Maternal stroke was more common than paternal stroke histor
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