Archive for July, 2011

Family History Better Predictor of Heart Attack Than Stroke

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Family genetics may play more of a role in your risk of a heart attack than strokes. 

New research conducted at the University of Birmingham in England suggests that a family history of heart attack appears to be a stronger risk factor for heart attack than a family history of stroke is for stroke. 

Nearly 800,000 Americans will have a new coronary attack this year and about 600,000 will experience their first stroke according to a report from the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance which tracks health-related data.  “Both stroke and heart attack are leading health conditions that can financially wipe out a family,” explains Jesse Slome, the association’s executive duirector. 

Researchers noted that their findings would be helpful to doctors as a means of predicting a patient’s risk of heart attack and stroke.   The scientists collected data on nearly 1,000 people who had heart attacks and 1,015 stroke survivors. 

Among those with heart disease, 30 percent had a parent with a heart attack and 21 percent had a sibling with a heart attack, the researchers found.  Seven percent had two or more siblings who suffered heart attacks, and 5 percent reported both parents had had heart attacks. 

On the other hand, 21 percent of those who suffered a stroke or transient ischemic attack, considered a minor stroke, had at least one parent with a stroke, and 8 percent had a brother or sister with a stroke. 

Two percent of the stroke survivors had two parents with strokes, while 14 percent had at least two siblings with a stroke, the researchers found.  When two parents had suffered a heart attack, the risk of heart attack increased six times.  If one parent suffered a heart attack, the risk was 1.5 times greater for their offspring.

Stroke risk did not change substantially based on parental stroke history, the authors said. 

“Individuals in their 40s and 50s should recognize that a family history of heart disease can be important information about future risk of having a heart attack,” Slome explains. “With greater risk comes a greater need to plan.”

Taller Women Face Higher Cancer Risk

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Results of a just-published study report that taller women are at greater risk of developing cancer as compared to their counterparts.

According to findings, taller women are prone to ten types of cancers. Some 1.5 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year, including nearly 750,000 women according to data from the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance which tracks health-related issues pertaining to the three major critical illnesses (cancer, heart attack and stroke).

Oxford University researchers analyzed data collected between 1996 and 2001 from more than one million women who evidenced symptoms of cancer. The women were followed for a period of 10 years and data was collected on women ranging in height from five feet and five inches to five feet nine inches.

The study reports that for every 10 centimeter increase in additional height, the individual’s chance of developing cancer rose overall by 16 percent. However, it was also found that the taller women face a 17 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer and a 19 percent higher chances of developing womb cancer.

Previous research has already shown that some cancers are linked to height, she said, but this latest study looked at 17 different types of cancers, including breast cancer, bowel cancer and leukemia, rather than focusing on just a few. The link between height and cancer risk was present across all cancers with very little variation, the researchers found.

As well, the results showed that the risk was similar across different populations from Asia, Europe and North America. Taller people tend to have been better nourished in childhood the researchers noted. They tend to have better immune systems and they tend to have lower rates of heart disease.

The findings of the study were published in The Lancet Oncology medical journal.