Why Your Mum's Heart Health Could Affect You Too

02/02/2011 12:36 | Updated 22 May 2015

mother-daughter-inherited-heart-diseaseDaughters can be affected by their mother's heart problems. Photo: Getty

Experts often recommend getting to know your family health history. And that might be more relevant for women than men, at least where their mother's health history and cardiovascular disease is concerned.

A study by Oxford University scientists suggests women may be more at risk of inherited forms of heart disease while men's hearts are more affected by their lifestyles. Writing in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, the researchers claim if you're a woman and your mother had a stroke, you may have a risk of heart attack as well as a higher risk of stroke.

According to the study's lead researcher, Amitava Banerjee, it's important to know about these kinds of risk factors because women are more likely to die from a heart attack than men, despite having lower odds of suffering one.

The study, which included more than 2,200 women, found those whose mothers had suffered a stroke were more likely to have heart problems themselves than if their fathers had experienced cardiovascular disease.

So while women are more at risk of inherited forms of heart disease, men on the other hand are more at risk of problems caused by overeating, drinking too much or smoking.

"Traditional risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes don't account for heart attack risk as clearly in women as in men," adds Banerjee.

The study's findings might prompt more GPs to ask women to tell them more about their family health histories, especially if there's cardiovascular disease on their mother's side.

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