Background: Family history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an independent risk factor for CVD. Therefore, efforts to prevent CVD among asymptomatic persons with a family history are warranted. Little is known about preventive recommendations clinicians offer their patients with a family history of CVD, and adherence to preventive recommendations by patients at risk for CVD has not been well described. Methods: We used the 2007 Oregon Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to evaluate among 2,566 adults without CVD associations between family history of CVD and (a) clinician recommendations; (b) perceived risk of developing CVD; (c) adoption of preventive and screening behaviors; and (d) risk factors of CVD. Results: Compared with adults with no family history of CVD, those with a family history reported that their clinician was more likely to ask about their family history information (OR = 2.6; 95% CI, 1.9–3.4), discuss the risk of developing CVD (OR = 2.0; 95% CI, 1.6–2.5), and make recommendations to prevent CVD (OR = 2.1; 95% CI, 1.7–2.7). Family history and clinician recommendations were associated with a higher likelihood of reported changes in diet or physical activity to prevent CVD (OR = 2.7; 95% CI, 2.3–3.2). Persons with a family history of CVD were more likely to report having high cholesterol, having high blood pressure, taking aspirin, and having had their cholesterol checked. Conclusion: The presence of a family history of CVD appears to prompt clinicians to recommend preventive changes and may motivate patients without CVD to adopt these recommendations.
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