Genetic Factors and Heart Disease Risk

People with a history of heart or circulatory diseases in their families may be more susceptible to developing cardiovascular disease which might lead to a heart attack or stroke. A record of heart health conditions that have affected your family members is known as “family history”. Your family’s medical history will also include information on any relatives who have passed away because of a certain condition. If a family member is diagnosed with heart disease or a heart condition, other members of the same family are recommended to be screened for risk factors especially early-stage conditions which may not yet show any symptoms.

Hereditary heart diseases:

Almost all cardiac problems can be passed down to generations, examples:

  • arrhythmias,
  • congenital heart disease,
  • cardiomyopathy,
  • excessive blood cholesterol,
  • coronary artery disease,

These conditions may lead to a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure.

Genetics influences in heart diseases:

Genetics can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in various manners. Every component of the cardiovascular system is controlled by genes, from the thickness of the blood arteries to the way cells in the heart coordinate. A single genetic alteration (mutation) in a single gene can influence the risk of getting heart disease.

For years, researchers have been focusing on identifying the genes that are responsible for an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. If a genetic predisposition is identified, doctors can optimize their diagnostic and treatment approaches appropriately. Genetic screening for cardiovascular diseases could be extremely common in the future.

Furthermore, several genes have been found to influence lipid metabolism, hypertension, the risk of diabetes mellitus, and the tendency for obesity. Not only are the genetic reasons for heart disease becoming much clearer, but people’s overall cardiovascular risk could now be better evaluated.

There might be hundreds of interconnected sites in the genome that are linked to a person’s risk of heart disease. Scientists are becoming better at spotting these risky areas in the genome, and they’re now attempting to figure out whether summing up these genetic alterations in what’s known as a “polygenic risk score” is effective in predicting and preventing illness.

What are the genetic risk factors for heart disease:

  • Some risk factors might influence the risk of heart disease differently in men and women. For instance, estrogen offers some protection against heart disease in women, while diabetes increases the risk of heart disease in women more than in men.
  • Ethnicity or race. Certain ethnicities face greater dangers than others. African Americans are more likely to have heart disease than whites, but Hispanic Americans are less prevalent.
  • Family history. If you have a close family member who has heart disease at a young age, you are at a higher risk of developing them.

 Genetic testing:

You may be offered genetic testing based on the findings of your screening. It is a DNA test performed if you are suspected of having a defective gene that can lead to a hereditary cardiac disease. This test could be done using:

  • Your blood sample
  • Your cheek swab from the inside of your mouth

Genetic testing can determine if you have a single mutated gene or a genetic defect that might result in an inherited heart condition (IHC).

Genetic testing may be recommended for people who exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Unexplained cardiac arrests or unexpected deaths in the family that might have been caused by undetected heart problems
  • Fainting is spontaneous, or fainting caused by exertion or psychological stress.
  • Seizures that are undiagnosed or have a normal neurological assessment result
  • ICD/pacemaker under the age of 50.
  • Heart failure in people below the age of 60.
  • Heart enlargement.
  • Abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Aortic aneurysm or dilated aorta in the chest before the age of 55.
  • Untreated, very high cholesterol levels.
  • Congenital abnormalities of the heart

How to Reduce Your Risk:

Consult your doctor or a cardiologist if you have a family history of heart disease or if you have unhealthy lifestyle factors such as obesity and smoking.

It’s usually a good idea to have your issue looked out before you start experiencing symptoms.

A first-degree male relative (father or brother) who had a heart attack by the age of 55, or a first-degree female relative (mother or sister) who had a heart attack by the age of 65, is considered to have a family history of heart disease.

Consider making lifestyle modifications that will help your heart health:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Reduce your weight.
  • Eat more healthily.
  • Increase your physical activity.

To be honest, these are common knowledge, yet all of these things may lessen your chances of having a heart attack and dying young.

It’s advisable to take Covid 19 vaccine.