If your first degree
relative (that includes one or both of your parents or a sibling) suffers from
a heart disease, you will need to be more careful. This is particularly
important if your father or brother suffered from heart disease early before
the age of 55 years, or your mother or sister suffered from a heart disease
before the age of 65 years.
‘Individuals with a positive family history of heart disease in first-degree relatives should control modifiable risk factors to reduce the chances of suffering from a heart disease.’
risk for heart disease passes down through families through genes.
conditions like hypertrophic
Marfan's syndrome and sudden death associated with
prolonged QT interval are caused by single gene defects, whereas the risk for
other heart diseases like heart attack and angina is usually controlled by
multiple genes. Conditions like hypertension and diabetes that often increase
the risk of heart disease are also controlled by multiple genes. The risk is
also influenced by the ethnicity of the individual.
genes, common lifestyle factors may also be responsible for the clustering of heart disease cases in a family
example, an unhealthy diet comprising mainly of junk foods rich in unsaturated
fats and high in salt content can put the entire family at risk for heart
disease. Behavioral factors in the family like excess alcohol intake and
smoking, which are not good for the heart, may influence the youngsters, thus
also putting them at a risk for heart disease.
you have a genetic risk for a heart disease, you cannot change it. You can,
however, control several other factors and reduce your risk
. Some of the
steps that you could take include the following:
- Follow healthy diet practices with a low fat diet, adequate whole grains, fresh
fruits and vegetables, adequate protein in the form of legumes and if you
are a non-vegetarian, fish and poultry. Avoid sweets, unsaturated fats and
red meats. Control your salt intake to maintain a normal blood pressure.
- The importance of
regular exercise should not be
underestimated. A minimum of 20 to 30 minutes for at least five days a
week should be included in your routine.
- Do not smoke!
If you are already a smoker, your risk of heart disease will come
down after you quit. Talk to your doctor about methods to help you quit
your habit. The intake of birth control pills by women who smoke further
increases the risk of heart disease.
- Control your alcohol intake.
Though some may argue that alcohol may be protective for the heart,
uncontrolled drinking does not provide any benefit and can be harmful.
- Get a regular health check done at least
annually even if you do not suffer from any symptoms. Make sure that an
ECG (electrocardiogram) is a part of the workup. A stress test can also be
done, which can detect heart disease before heart symptoms appear.
- Be aware of symptoms of heart disease which
may include chest pain, discomfort or pressure which may spread to the
left shoulder and arm, back or the jaw, and difficulty with breathing,
dizziness, a fast heart rate or irregular heart rhythm.
- Control predisposing disease conditions like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol
levels through regular medications.
- Control your weight.
Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease
directly as well as by worsening other associated conditions.
- Control your stress levels.
Stress compels individuals to eat excessively, smoke or drink. It also
increases blood pressure.
- Avoid medications
that have a known adverse effect on the heart.
- Family History and Other Characteristics That Increase Risk for Heart Disease - (https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/family_history.htm)