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Hereditary Heart Disease Risks

  • If you have a family history of coronary artery disease, it’s a heart disease risk factor
  • Major heredity risk factors include: diabetes, obesity, hypertension and cholesterol abnormalities. Be aware of your LDL and HDL cholesterol levels

If you have a family history of coronary artery disease, which is termed premature if it occurs in women before the age of 65, or before the age of 55 in men, it is considered a hereditary heart disease risk factor. One scientific research suggests that family history on its own is responsible for as much as 15 percent of all heart attacks.

There are other major hereditary risk factors, including diabetes, cholesterol abnormalities (known as “dyslipidemia”), obesity and hypertension (high blood pressure). These are among the conditions with the most influential hereditary components. Not all medical conditions are hereditary, although family members quite often share similar lifestyles and habits which may have an impact on the risk of heart disease.

Determining Your Family Heart Disease History

The relatives that are most strongly linked to your risk of hereditary heart disease are your parents and siblings. A number of research studies have looked at premature cardiovascular disease, contracted by one or both parents, and the impact it has on the risk of their offspring contracting coronary heart disease. This included the Physician’s Health Study which looked at over 22,000 men and a Women’s Health Study which looked at over 39,000 women.

The results suggested that if either parent has had premature cardiovascular disease, there is an increased the risk of coronary heart disease for offspring of either gender. In both men’s and women’s studies, the risk of hereditary heart disease was greater if the only parent that was affected by heart disease was the mother. Both sets of results also suggested that there was an additional risk if both parents had contracted premature cardiovascular disease. Another study has shown that if siblings have cardiovascular disease, there is an additional risk factor for heart disease in middle-aged adults. In fact, this study concluded that the contribution to risk of a sibling with heart disease was greater than that of a parent.

Those who have a family history of heart disease and those who have other risk factors should attempt to alleviate the risk using factors they can control. People who have an increased risk of heart disease in particular should adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle. This should include a regular program of exercise, weight management, abstaining from alcohol (although, for those over the age of 21, a moderate amount of alcohol may be beneficial) and smoking, and a healthy diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables.

Hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol abnormalities should also be controlled by combining a healthy life style with close medical monitoring and treatment. You should discuss testing for hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol abnormalities with your doctor or health professional and they will be able to assess your risk of hereditary heart disease.

Your family history cannot be changed. However, if you have close family members who have a history of heart disease, or if there are other hereditary risk factors, you should ensure awareness in your family, so that you and your family can make positive lifestyle changes and take medical advice regarding diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension as these are sources of risk that can be lessened.

Among some of the most effective products for promoting cardiovascular health, specifically helping to lower LDL cholesterol levels and even reduce high blood pressure, are

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

2 Responses to “Hereditary Heart Disease Risks”

  1. 1
    Sharon Says:
    I was shocked to hear that I am at risk of heart disease at the age of 26. My family shows history of the hereditary heart. I have always eaten relatively healthy and enjoy exercise on a regular basis but have been under stress lately which has caused high blood pressure. My partner suffered from severe migranes which is caused by eating garlic (only men have garlic related migranes). I haven't eaten garlic in several months due to cutting it out of our meals. Well I have since found that garlic dramatically reduces the risk of heart disease and advised to crush 2 cloves of garlic daily in boiling water, leave for 6 minutes and then consume. Have one teaspoon of flaxseed oil daily. I am starting tonight and hope it works as I would hate to leave my 2 year old and 10 month old daughters behind and are willing to try anything to keep myself healthy for them.
  2. 2
    Marcus Says:
    I was shocked to find out that I had heart disease at age 42 especially when my parents were both healthy and had no indication of problems. It turns out that my grandfather on my father's side had heart disease. Make sure you know your families medical history at least back to your grandparents if you can. It will help your doctor pinpoint potential problems earlier in your care.