Among persons with a family history of premature coronary heart disease (CHD), siblings bear an excess risk of CHD that is as high as 12 times that of the general population. Aggressive, new, national guidelines for CHD risk reduction have focused on high-risk families, yet little is known about actual remediable risk factors in siblings of persons with premature CHD. To determine the magnitude of the problem relative to the general population, we screened 846 unaffected siblings (ages 30 to 59 years) of persons with documented CHD before age 60 years and compared their risk factor values with population reference norms obtained in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Mean levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were 0.52 mmol/L (20 mg/dl) higher in siblings; the prevalence of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol ≥4.14 mmol/L (160 mg/dl) was nearly twice that of race, sex, and age-specific values from NHANES III. Levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol <0.91 mmol/L (35 mg/dl) were similar between siblings and NHANES III (11% and 12%, respectively). Only 4% of all siblings had triglyceride levels ≥4.52 mmol/L (400 mg/dl). Hypertension prevalence was twice as high among siblings as among the NHANES III. Current smoking was 33.9% in white siblings and 25.5% in the NHIS, whereas smoking in African- Americans was similar to that in the NHIS (31.1% vs 29.2%). A mere 13% to 29% of siblings were without any major remediable risk factors. The overwhelming need for risk factor modification in this easily identifiable high-risk population supports aggressive national guidelines and demonstrates the lack of adequate treatment of apparently healthy siblings of persons with premature CHD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine