A detailed family history was obtained from men who had earlier been participants in a longitudinal study of coronary heart disease (CHD). Men who developed CHD during the 5-6 years' course of that study were matched with those who had remained free of CHD, using age and initial risk characteristics (blood pressure, plasma cholesterol concentration, smoking habits, and physical activity at work) for the matching criteria. Men who developed CHD were more likely to report a family history of CHD than their controls, and the excess was greater in those who had been at low risk initially than in those at initially high risk. This suggests that a clue to the reason why men at low conventional risk develop CHD may lie in their family history, and that there may be an explanation other than the familial aggregation of conventional risk factors for CHD to run in families.
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