Question: What role does family history play in determining my risk of developing heart disease?
Answer: Family history is an important player in determining the overall risk for heart disease. What we need to recognize, however, is how much of an interplay between genes and lifestyle were present in your father or mother who developed heart disease.
For example, back in the 1960s, half the population of adults smoked. So if your father had a heart attack and he was 40 years old, but he was a heavy smoker, and you're 40 years old, but you don't smoke, your risk is likely to be different. So family history does play an important role, but it's all relative to the effects or the interaction between genes and the environment.
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