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News The Genetic Connection to Heart Disease

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Our family’s health history may seem simply good to know, but the American Heart Association maintains that knowing the details of your parents’ history of heart attack or stroke may help you avoid a serious heart problem yourself.

With heart attack and stroke being the nation’s number one and number five causes of death, respectively, Samaritan Cardiologist Jeremy Warner, DO, recommends taking a deeper look at your heart health risk.

“Genetic factors likely play a role in your risk for heart disease,” Dr. Warner said. “Unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking or lack of exercise are certainly contributing factors, but your risk is further increased when heredity also plays a role.”

Dr. Warner suggested that if you don’t already know your family’s full health history, start by asking some questions of your immediate family. Find out if your parents or grandparents experienced heart disease or stroke, and ask how old they were when these health concerns developed.

Heart disease affects men and women, and some characteristics such as age, sex and ethnicity also impact risk.

“While a family history of heart disease doesn’t mean that you’ll suffer the same fate, discussing your family’s heart health history with your provider can help him or her recommend lifestyle changes to help you stay as heart healthy as possible,” explained Dr. Warner.