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Are there sex differences in risk factors for coronary heart disease? Maternal versus paternal transmission
  1. R F Redberg
  1. Correspondence to:
    Rita F Redberg, MD, UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, 505 Parnassus Avenue, Suite M-1180, School of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, San Francisco, California 94143-0124, USA;
    redberg{at}medicine.ucsf.edu

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Does maternal or paternal transmission in family history play a greater role in determining an individual’s overall risk for coronary heart disease?

Parents are held accountable for many things in their children’s lives—both good and bad. The relative importance of the mother’s role versus the father’s role is often debated, and the relative importance of parental transmission to heart disease risk is no exception. As with many traits, there is clearly a role of nature and nurture in the occurrence of heart disease. The role of the intrauterine environment in determining coronary heart disease (CHD) risk is not nearly as well defined as the role of traditional cardiac risk factors. It is estimated from large studies such as MRFIT, the Nurses Health Study, and Chicago Western Electric study that the major independent conventional risk factors can account for more than 80% of coronary heart disease. Premature family history (mother < 65 years, father < 55 years) of CHD is a risk factor for CHD. While family history is clearly not modifiable, its importance is in determining overall risk. Current American …

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