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Know Your Risk

December 15, 2010, 5:15 PM by Kelli Grant

SIOUX FALLS, SD - A new report from the American Heart Association shows just how big a role family history can play in a person's risk for heart attack

That new report shows women are at a 70 percent increased risk of having heart attack if one of their parents has had one early in life. For men, the risk doubles.

It's news that backs up what doctors have been telling their patients for years - know your family history.

“We need to know our family history. We really need to pay attention to what our risks are for heart disease. That means getting cholesterol checked, getting blood pressure checked, getting blood sugar checked. It's not just your parents. If a brother or sister has heart disease, your risk doubles. Whether you're male or female,” Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum said.

There is some good news in the report. Deaths from heart disease and stroke in the U.S. are down but operations and procedures for those conditions are up almost 30 percent.

“So though we've treated it, and the death rates are down, let's make no mistake, people are actually more unhealthy then they've been in the past. We've figured out the treatment now we have to figure out the prevention,” Steinbaum said,

And what a better time to learn your family health history, than during the holidays. Doctors say it's a good time to ask questions about heart disease that way your own doctor knows your risk.

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