Can a family history of cardiology problems affect me?

If you have a family history of cardiology problems, you too are at a risk of having a cardiology problem. Such heart diseases may include heart attack, stroke, heart failure, angina and coronary heart disease.

Risks are high if:
Your father or brother had been diagnosed with a heart disease when they were under the age of 55.
Your mother or sister had been diagnosed with a heart disease when they were under the age of 65.

Under such cases of having a family history of the disease, you must visit your doctor and go for a health check of your heart to assess the current conditions of your heart. The doctor would like to check your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. If you are above the age of 40, it is mandatory to visit a doctor and get your heart checked, to find out if there are risks of cardiovascular disease.

Chances of having a stroke are high if any of your first-degree relatives have experienced a stroke when they were young. Chances of stoke are even higher if you are a woman and your mother has had a stroke.

How does a family history affect me?

Unfortunately, you may lead a healthy life yet carry risks of a cardiovascular disease, or conditions of high cholesterol level or high blood pressure. Blame the genes!
It’s not a single gene that’s responsible for all the wrong things. It’s likely that, a combination of several genes may be responsible for heart diseases, for which researches are still being carried out.

Some other factors may also lead to risks of a cardiovascular disease, such as carrying on the lifestyle habits from your past generations, like a poor diet or smoking.

What can I do about my family history?

Sadly, there’s nothing much you can do about a family history of cardiovascular disease, as it is also known as a ‘non-modifiable’ risk factor, that is, a factor of risk that you can’t change.

However, good news is, you can modify some of your lifestyle and food habits, that can help reduce the overall risk factors of heart diseases.
Here are the guidelines on the factors that are under your control:

  1. Follow a healthy food habit
  2. Be physically active- Do not be lazy
  3. Quit smoking
  4. Try to keep your weight and body shape under control
  5. Control diabetes, if you have it
  6. Manage high cholesterol
  7. Manage high blood pressure.

Risks of developing a cardiovascular disease are also related to your age. As you grow older, risks of the disease would get higher. Therefore, it is important that you take more care as you grow old and get check-ups done regularly.

However, knowing about your family history is not enough. It is important that you visit a doctor and dig in as much information as possible regarding the health status of your heart. Your doctor would like to know a number of facts from you such as who all in your family have had heart problems, what age they were in at the time they were diagnosed with such disease, along with the kind and intensity of the disease. You must provide all the necessary information that your doctor requires to help him assess you better. For more queries related to heart surgeries and diseases you may consult doctors.

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