Heart disease can be passed down through families. Some are caused by just one or a few genetic changes that have a very strong effect in causing disease. Known as monogenic conditions, they include uncommon disorders that mostly affect the heart’s muscle or electrical system (such as long QT syndrome). Another example is familial hypercholesterolemia, which causes very high cholesterol levels and may lead to premature coronary artery disease.
Often heard from experts, a balanced diet and regular fitness routine play a vital role in maintaining heart health. However, with the increasing incidence of heart attacks in young people who are fitness enthusiasts as well, millions are forced to wonder whether it’s just their lifestyle that could impact heart attack risk or are there other factors that could be responsible. To gather more insights on this, Times Now Digital connected with leading cardiologists across hospitals to understand the causes, risk factors and preventive techniques that one can follow to avoid heart attack risk.
Sudden cardiac deaths in adults may also have underlying genetic causes such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Lond QT syndrome, coronary artery disease due to genetic biochemical abnormalities etc. Family history may sometimes suggest pointers regarding genetic cause. Medical advice should be sought for further genetic investigations. Genetic tests need appropriate interpretation after which further measures are suggested. New tests like polygenic markers to calculate risk of coronary artery disease have been recently introduced which need to be discussed with concerned doctor. Early detection and prevention by screening and medical treatments can prevent disastrous outcomes in such cases.
Heart attack risk in the young group of people is a major issue in our country and there are several reasons to blame for it. This group of people has no major symptoms prior to a heart attack and also people with no major risk factors develop sudden heart attack. One of the reasons is the genetic formation of Indian Asians, our genes have a major defect due to which young people in our country are facing heart attack risk. The other reason is diabetes.
All of the things we recommend to minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease apply equally, if not more so, to people with elevated familial or genetic risk. Watching for hypertension and keeping your blood pressure controlled, keeping cholesterol in check, and keeping your heart healthy all still help you, even if you have a genetic predisposition. Another way to arm yourself is by talking with your doctor. When your doctor is aware of your family history, they can provide advice specific to your needs, as well as required blood tests such as those to check your cholesterol and other factors that inform heart risk.
A family history of heart disease is generally defined by having a first-degree male relative (i.e., father or brother) who had a heart attack by age 55, or a first-degree female relative (i.e., mother or sister) by age 65.
Just as important, consider lifestyle changes that improve your heart health.
“You can see changes in your risk over a short period of months,” says Malik.
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