According to a research, genes may partially determine the percentage of developing the most common form of heart failure among people. Researchers from Wake Forest University and other universities studied more than 500 groups of siblings. They used ultrasound to measure the efficiency of participants' hearts, specifically diastolic function. Diastolic function measures how efficiently the heart refills with blood after each heartbeat. They found family relationships explained as much as half of the variability in diastolic function.
Dalane W. Kitzman, M.D., from Wake Forest, says, that our research suggest that when one is born, their diastolic function may already be programmed. Gene influences were as powerful or even more so than blood pressure level, age, gender, weight, where your live or whether you have diabetes.
Previous research by Dr. Kitzman showed more than half of those with heart failure had diastolic heart failure. When looking at gender, 60 percent of women had diastolic failure while 35 percent of men had this type of heart failure. Only recently has diastolic heart failure been recognized as a separate condition, so research on treating it has been limited.
Dr. Kitzman concludes, "A significant part of whether you have good, moderate or poor diastolic function may be determined by genes. We previously thought that diastolic heart failure was caused by hypertension and aging. It is now becoming clear that those two factors don't explain it all."