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Heart attack risk factors surprisingly big

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HERSHEY, Pa., Aug 30, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Pennsylvania researchers have found that high blood pressure as well as high LDL-cholesterol more than doubles a person's expected heart attack risk.

Duanping Liao of Penn State's medical school told participants Monday in a German conference that he and his colleagues used data from 14,500 people in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. The subjects were free of coronary disease initially and then followed for an average of nine years.

Duanping's study showed that those without high blood pressure or high cholesterol showed an incidence for heart attack of 23 per 10,000 person-years, roughly 23 cases per 10,000 persons per year.

Because they lacked any risk factors, the incidence of 23 was considered background risk and was subtracted from the total number of heart attacks for those with risk factors present, he said. After deducting background risk, those with high blood pressure had an incidence of 16 and those with elevated LDL-cholesterol had an incidence of 12.

Duanping said the expected incidence for those with both those factors, however, was 51 -- not the expected sum of those two risks, which would have been 28.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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