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Stroke Risk Runs in the Family
Date:3/8/2010

Study found if parent had brain attack by 65, chances of same quadrupled for their children

MONDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- If your mother or father had a stroke by the time they were 65, your chances of also having a stroke by that age are increased fourfold, U.S. researchers report.

There are many risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, obesity and smoking. These risks factors can be changed, but family history cannot, they added.

"Know your family and parents' medical history as accurately as you can. And remember family history may not be modifiable, but it acts superimposed on other risk factors," said lead researcher Dr. Sudha Seshadri, an associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine.

"Parental stroke occurrence should, we believe, be included in predicting a person's stroke risk," she added.

The report is published March 8 in the online edition of Circulation.

For the study, Seshadri's team collected data on 3,443 people who participated in the Framingham Heart Study. These participants were all children of original Framingham study participants.

Among the parents of these individuals, 106 had strokes by the time they were 65. Among the current participants, 128 had strokes over the 40 years of the study.

After taking into account the usual risk factors for stroke, the researchers found that people who had a parent who had a stroke by the time they were 65 had twice the risk of having a stroke at any age and four times the risk of having a stroke by the time they reached 65.

In addition, the researchers found that among mothers who had a stroke, the risk for a stroke was highest among their daughters. The association of stroke among fathers and their children was weaker, but encompassed both sons and daughters.

Of the two types of stroke -- ischemic (which is caused by a blocked artery in the brain) and
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