Family history as a predictor for disease risk in healthy individuals: a cross-sectional study in Slovenia

PLoS One. 2013 Nov 6;8(11):e80333. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080333. eCollection 2013.

Abstract

Background: Family history can be used as a genetic risk predictor for common non-communicable diseases. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of healthy individuals at risk of developing these diseases, based on their self-reported family history.

Methods and findings: This was a cross-sectional observational study. Data were collected in the three largest occupational practices in primary health care centres in Slovenia, a Central European country. The study population consisted of consecutive individuals who came to occupational practices for their regular preventive check-up from November 2010 to June 2012. We included 1,696 individuals. Data were collected by a self-developed questionnaire. The main outcome was the number of participants at a moderate or high risk for the development of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. The final sample consisted of 1,340 respondents. Moderate or high risk for the development of cardiovascular diseases was present in 280 (20.9%) participants, for the development of diabetes in 154 (11.5%) participants and for cancer in 163 (12.1%) participants.

Conclusions: In this study, we found a significant proportion of healthy individuals with an increased genetic risk for common non-communicable diseases; consequently further genetic and clinical evaluation and preventive measures should be offered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Slovenia / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Grant support

This study was partially supported by unrestricted programme grant from National Research Agency P3 0339. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. No additional external funding was received for this study.