Lifestyle Is More Important

I just read results of another study that draws a possible connection between heart disease risk and a genetically determined trait.  This time it is blood type.  I am Type A, so I am – according to this study – 8% more likely to develop heart disease.

Those with A, B, or AB blood types appear to have a higher risk than those with the O blood type.  The researchers point out that this is probably not a very powerful indicator of risk, and that lifestyle makes a big difference.

I think lifestyle is THE most important determinant of heart disease risk in almost all cases.  The expression of genetically inherited traits is influenced by how we live – how we eat, what we eat, how we manage stress, activity levels, even happiness.

As someone with a family history of heart disease, I find this comforting.  So far there is no truly accurate way to determine who is going to develop heart disease and who will not.  Cholesterol measurements in a standard lipid panel are just not very predictive of risk.  More detailed testing is better, but there is still no consensus on an accurate predictive test for heart disease.  I think it is more complex than the presence of an ear lobe crease.  Whatever our risk factors, advice is similar.

Focus on lifestyle.  Improve eating habits and stay active.  This is what we can control.

4 thoughts on “Lifestyle Is More Important

  • I’m O+, so I guess this research benefits me. However, like you said, ultimately our lifestyle is what pushes us one way or the other. If you have a poor lifestyle and eat lots of artery-clogging food, then maybe having my blood type would make you slightly less likely to have heart disease.. but only slightly, cause continuing bad habits for years could tip you in the wrong direction. But you live a very healthy lifestyle so I don’t think you have to worry about it, regardless of your blood type and family history. Like you said, the expression of these genetic traits depends on so many factors, and you are keeping everything in check!

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