Family History in the Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease in General Practice
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Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the UK. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has suggested using family history to identify individuals at risk of heart disease and to offer them targeted lifestyle advice and medications. The UK Department of Health is also considering family history as a preventive tool.We have conducted two research projects on assessing family history of heart disease from the patient point of view. The firstexplored how clinicians and patients communicated about and interpreted family history. The second (on-going) study investigateshow individuals at high risk of heart disease perceive and react to assessing family history and other risk factors, lifestyle advice andmedications. The latter study also evaluates the impact of incorporating family history on heart disease risk assessment towardsmotivating lifestyle change, as well as critical appraisal of the psychological consequences and cost-effectiveness of this newapproach to preventing heart disease.
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