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The Role Of Genetics In Heart Diseas

Posted by Dan Cromar on 4/8/2015

How concerned are you of heart disease being in your future? 

Since more than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease, most adults should certainly be concerned about their future. Almost 25% of all U.S. deaths are attributed to heart disease annually.

Perhaps, you should consider what conditions may be putting you at a higher risk to develop heart disease. Factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol should be checked regularly. 

However, are you aware of the fact that family histories including shared genetic factors can often reveal a tendency toward heart disease in a family?


Can genetic disorders increase your risk of a premature heart attack? They certainly can. For one example, a common disorder found in families is hypercholesterolemia. 

High levels of “bad” cholesterol or LDL cholesterol are caused by this disorder at a very young age. Since approximately one in 500 Americans have this condition, it is essential that everyone seeks to detect if they do, in fact, have this disorder. 

Early detection of this disorder will allow you to protect yourself from heart disease. Proper diet designed to lower your levels of “bad” cholesterol is an essential step you should take for future health.

If one person in a family is diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia, this should be considered a sign to other family members of their possible increased risk. 

They then should take steps toward finding out if they have the condition and do what is necessary to decrease their risk. 

Sometime in the future, genetic testing can be done to determine a person’s heart disease risk estimate, but at the present time this approach is not considered valid.

Genes May Carry Coronary Heart Disease Risk

Although family members share behaviors, environments and lifestyles, a sharing of genes is most likely the factor that can lead to a risk of chronic disease.

For instance, the sharing of genes can lead to risk of coronary heart disease and high blood pressure. 

If you have a close family member with coronary heart disease, you would certainly have a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease than a person who does not have a family member with that disease.

Why a Written Family Health History is Important

A written health history of your family members will provide a valuable record of both the diseases and health conditions that exist in your family. You should be sure to include three generations of biological relatives. 

It is important to note health conditions such as high blood pressure and coronary heart disease to include the age of diagnosis and the cause and age of death of family members. 

Family history of health issues can be a useful tool for health professionals in diagnosing and care and for your own understanding of your health risks as well. This health history will help you in preventing disease for yourself as well as for your close relatives.

If you have a family history of coronary heart disease, hypercholesterolemia, or high blood pressure, you have a lot to gain from changing your lifestyle and having screening tests. 

Obviously, you can’t change your genes, but you can change a lifestyle that is unhealthy. You can change a poor diet, inactivity and a smoking habit. Changes in lifestyles, can decrease the risk of diseases inherent in your family. 

Through the use of screening tests to detect high cholesterol, coronary heart disease or high blood pressure, you can be treated with medications to lessen the chances of getting disease.

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