Individuals with a high genetic risk of cardiovascular disease and/or diabetes type 2 may find that a healthy lifestyle lowers their risk of developing these conditions

In August 2019 researchers from The Netherlands published the results of their study to assess the association between lifestyle and individuals genetically at risk of coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes type 2 as well as to assess the interaction between genetic risk and lifestyle. A total of 339,003 unrelated individuals (181,702 (54%) female; average age 57 years) of white British descent with available genetic and lifestyle data were included in the study. Genetic risk for new-onset cardiovascular disease and diabetes was assessed as low, intermediate or high. In addition, lifestyle information was assessed as either ideal, intermediate or poor. During a 9-year follow-up period 9,771 individuals developed coronary artery disease, 7,095 atrial fibrillation, 3,145 suffered a stroke, 11,358 developed hypertension, and 4,379 diabetes. Results showed that both a poor lifestyle and a high genetic risk were independently associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes type 2. However, a further analysis revealed that compared with an ideal lifestyle, a poor lifestyle was associated with an increased risk of up to 4.5 for coronary artery disease, 5.4 for atrial fibrillation, 4.7 for hypertension, 2.3 for stroke, and 15.5 for diabetes in the those individuals with a high genetic risk.

Said MA et al. Associations of Combined Genetic and Lifestyle Risks With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes in the UK Biobank Study. JAMA Cardiol. 2018 Aug 1;3(8):693-702.

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