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Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Genetics and stroke

Having a family history of stroke increases the risk of stroke, but only by a small amount.
If many of your blood relatives have had stroke or heart attacks then it would be sensible to get your doctor to give you a check-up. In particular it would be important to check your blood pressure and cholesterol level. Certain racial groups are at greater risk of stroke than others; in particular people from West Africa and the Caribbean have twice the rate of stroke than Caucasians. Part of this difference may represent genetic factors.

1 comment:

praspowt said...

There is a slightly increased chance of having a stroke if members of your immediate family have had strokes. This is particularly true if your relatives were young when they had their strokes. Some of the reasons why strokes run in families are understood and relate to high cholesterol and high blood pressure being in part inherited problems. We also tend to take on certain behavioural characteristics from our families. For example, eating patterns are learnt from our parents, and high alcohol consumption and smoking may be copied from one generation to the next. Social class depends to a large extent on our parents, although obviously it can be changed.

If you have a family history of stroke, it is worth discussing this with your doctor to see if there is anything you should do to modify your lifestyle to minimise your risk. Nevertheless, even if all your close relatives had strokes, the chance of your having one is not all that great. It should not be regarded as the Sword of Damocles hanging over you, over which you have no control.