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Women less likely than men to change habits that increase heart disease risk
Date:9/10/2007

DALLAS Sept. 10, 2007 Smoking, eating fattening foods and not getting enough exercise are all lifestyle habits that can lead to poor health and cardiovascular disease more so if you have a family history. But researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that women dont change these habits as often as men, even when they have relatives with heart disease.

The scientists, reporting in the September issue of the American Heart Journal, found that women with a family history of heart disease are less likely than men to change habits such as smoking and infrequent physical activity. They also are more likely to engage in lifestyle choices that increase their risk of heart disease than are women who did not report a history of heart disease.

A family history of heart disease is as important an indicator of future cardiovascular health in women as it is in men perhaps more important, said Dr. Amit Khera, assistant professor of internal medicine and senior author of the study. And yet there is an underappreciation of cardiovascular-disease risk among young women, which may contribute to unfavorable trends in important lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking and increasing physical activity.

Researchers looked at data from more than 2,400 people between the ages of 30 and 50. Family history of premature heart disease was defined as a first-degree relative with history of heart attacks before the age of 50 in men and 55 in women.

They analyzed the link between family history of heart disease and risk factors for cardiovascular disease in women such as coronary artery calcification, risk perception and lifestyle choices in young women and compared the data with their young, male counterparts.

Although the prevalence of cardiovascular disease is generally low for young women, the consequences can be more severe, Dr. Khera said. For instance, women are twice as likely as men to have fatal heart atta
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Contact: Katherine Morales
katherine.morales@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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