Studies on risk factors for stroke have been less intensive than those for coronary disease. Only a few studies have addressed the question of the role of heredity in the occurrence of stroke. We analyzed whether a positive parental history of cardiovascular disease predicts the risk of stroke independently from other risk factors and whether the role of parental history varies by age and stroke subtypes.
This study was a prospective follow-up of 14371 middle-aged men and women. A positive parental history of cardiovascular disease was defined as either stroke or coronary disease before the age of 60 years. The end point of the follow-up was an incident case of stroke. Multivariate analyses were performed with the Cox proportional hazards model.
The risk ratio of stroke after multifactorial adjustment (age, smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and education) associated with a positive parental history of stroke was 1.89 (P = .004) in men and 1.80 (P = .007) in women. The association between parental history of stroke and the risk of stroke was stronger among subjects aged 25 to 49 years than among older subjects. Parental history of coronary disease was not associated with the risk of stroke in men, but in women it had a borderline significant association with the risk of ischemic stroke.
A positive parental history of stroke predicted the risk of stroke independently from the other risk factors.