611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

LaFrontera
member support line
1-520-279-5737
M-F 5pm-8pm
24/7 weekends/holidays

AzCH Nurse Assist Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530



SEABHS
611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

AzCH Nurse Assist Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530


powered by centersite dot net
Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Even a Little Light in Your Bedroom Could Harm HealthWant Respect at Work? Ditch the EmojisAs Clocks Spring Forward, Keep Sleep on TrackSleep Experts Call for End to Twice-a-Year Time ChangesHigh Anxiety: Poll Finds Americans Stressed by Inflation, WarYour Houseplants May Help You Breathe EasierAHA News: Ready to 'Spring Forward'? Ease Into the Time Change With These 9 Health TipsSome Americans Gained Better Habits During Pandemic, Poll FindsStressed Out by Ukraine News? Experts Offer Coping TipsBegin Now to Protect Your Heart as Clocks 'Spring Forward'AHA News: Break Up Binge-Watching by Taking a StandApps: They Help Manage Health Conditions, But Few Use Them, Poll FindsLifestyle Factors Key to Keeping Good Vision With AgeExercise Helps You Sleep, But Which Workout Is Best?Fitbit Recalls Over 1 Million Smartwatches Due to Burn HazardAHA News: Understanding 'Black Fatigue' – And How to Overcome ItPandemic Didn't Dent Americans' Optimism, Polls FindHuman Brain Doesn't Slow Down Until After 60AHA News: Does Kindness Equal Happiness and Health?Apps Can Help Keep Older Folks Healthy — But Most Don't Use ThemAHA News: Want a Healthier Valentine's Day? More Hugs and KissesStudy Hints That Cutting Daily Calories Could Extend Healthy Life SpanHow Healthy Is Your State? New Federal Data Ranks EachMidwinter Blues Could Be SAD: An Expert Guide to TreatmentsSpice Up Your Meal to Avoid More SaltSearching for Good Sleep? Here's What You're Doing Right - and WrongPandemic Worsening Americans' Already Terrible Sleep, Poll Finds​AHA News: Fine-Tune Your Health With These 5 Music IdeasMelatonin's Popularity Rises, Along With Hidden DangersAHA News: Healthy Living Could Offset Genetics and Add Years Free of Heart DiseaseCould Everyday Plastics Help Make You Fat?Take These Winter Workout Tips to HeartStay Safe When Winter Storms Cut Your PowerAHA News: Sound the Fiber Alarm! Most of Us Need More of It in Our DietExtra 10 Minutes of Daily Activity Could Save 110,000 U.S. Lives AnnuallyWinter Blues? It Could Be SADOrdering Groceries Online? Good Luck Finding Nutrition InfoBinge-Watching Could Raise Your Blood Clot RiskDon't Snow Shovel Your Way to a Heart AttackCelebrities' Social Media Promotes Junk Food, Often for FreeWill Reading Books Make You Any Happier?Zoom Meeting Anxiety Doesn't Strike EveryoneDid Adding Calorie Counts to Restaurant Menus Make Meals Healthier?AHA News: Here's to a Fresh Start With Whatever You Do in '22Do You Have 'COVID-somnia'? These Sleep Tips Might HelpMake 2022 Your Year for a Free Memory ScreeningNew Year's Resolution? Here's How to Make it Stick12 Steps to the Best Holiday Gift: HealthAmericans Turning to Trendy Diets to Shed Pandemic PoundsAHA News: Can the Cold Really Make You Sick?
LinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Smoking
Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management

AHA News: Healthy Living Could Offset Genetics and Add Years Free of Heart Disease

HealthDay News
by American Heart Association News
Updated: Jan 31st 2022

new article illustration

MONDAY, Jan. 31, 2022 (American Heart Association News) -- People who follow seven rules for healthy living – such as staying physically active and eating a healthy diet – could offset a high genetic risk for heart disease, according to new research that suggests it could mean as many as 20 extra years of life free of heart disease.

The study, published Monday in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, found people with high cumulative genetic risk scores for heart disease could dramatically lower that risk if they adhered to seven lifestyle modifications, called Life's Simple 7. In addition to eating a heart-healthy diet and moving more, this includes not smoking, maintaining an appropriate weight, and keeping blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure levels under control.

The findings are not the first to suggest lifestyle can give a person with high genetic risk a winning edge against heart disease, but they are the first to use a new genetic risk tool to show how much disease-free living a person might gain by taking steps to reduce that risk, said lead study author Natalie Hasbani, a doctoral candidate and graduate research assistant at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

"It's important to communicate these risks in a way that is truly impactful," she said, "to put it in terms of what the information can do for me." Translating risk reduction into an absolute measure – years lived free of disease – is something more typically done in cancer treatment research, she said. "The hope is that hearing these numbers can convince people to change their behaviors."

This was the first study to use the tool to predict lifetime risk for heart disease and the number of years both Black and white adults might live free of it if they adhered to a set of healthy lifestyle guidelines.

Polygenic risk scores are a relatively new tool that includes all of a person's genetic information rather than individual genes associated with a disease. The scoring is based on the total number of variants that increase heart disease risk found in a person's genetic code, based on studies that compare the genes of people who have the disease with those who don't.

The study calculated heart disease risk for 8,372 white adults and 2,314 Black adults age 45 and older. Overall, it found the risk for developing heart disease during a person's remaining lifetime ranged from 16.6% for those who practiced the healthiest lifestyles to 43.1% for those with the least healthy lifestyles. People with high polygenic risk scores could lower their risk for heart disease by up to 50% by also scoring high on following the healthy lifestyle recommendations, compared to their high genetic risk peers who didn't have healthy lifestyles.

The impact of a healthy lifestyle varied by race. For white adults at high genetic risk, living an ideal lifestyle offered 20.2 more years of heart disease-free living compared to those with the least healthy lifestyles. But Black adults at high risk for heart disease were only able to gain 4.5 disease-free years by living a healthy lifestyle.

However, polygenic risk scoring relies on data culled largely from people of European descent. That means it is less reliable when used to predict risk for Black adults and others of non-European descent whose DNA are not well represented in the data pool, the researchers said.

"We need larger genetic association studies in Black adults if we're going to do better in summarizing their risk," said the study's senior author Paul de Vries, assistant professor at the School of Public Health of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

In a 2021 scientific statement, the AHA called for greater inclusion of people from diverse ethnicities and ancestry in medical research to create more accurate tools for identifying genetic risk for disease in these groups. Efforts are now underway to collect that data, said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, the AHA's president and chair of the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

In the meantime, "applying (polygenic risk scores) to someone who is African American or Asian just doesn't work very well," he cautioned. "It has the potential to create real problems with health disparities until we get better data."

Polygenic risk scores may be most useful when used to identify people under the age of 40 who carry a high genetic risk for heart disease and don't know it, Lloyd-Jones said. Decisions about whether someone should take medications such as statins to reduce heart disease risk currently are based upon whether they are likely to develop heart disease within 10 years, which is not typically the case for someone in their 30s but might be for someone with high genetic risk.

"We could be missing opportunities to start treatment earlier when it might have a bigger impact," he said. "But there's not a lot of value in genetic risk scores to date for older people. Once people reach middle age, their personal health behaviors tend to matter a lot more than whatever genes they were born with."

The main message of this study, Lloyd-Jones said, is that "while family history or genetics are important, they don't determine your fate. If you are at high risk, you can lower it by pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Likewise, if you are at lower risk, you can worsen your situation by not controlling behaviors."

American Heart Association News covers heart and brain health. Not all views expressed in this story reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you have questions or comments about this story, please email editor@heart.org.

By Laura Williamson