The team at Premier Cardiology Consultants offers New York residents a wide range of advanced diagnostic studies and treatments for managing and preventing heart disease.
Read what these experts say about genetics and cardiovascular disease and how you can use that information to help prevent heart attack, stroke, and other disabling illnesses.
Understanding genetics and your heart
Your genes control visible traits such as hair and eye color. They’re also responsible for the strength of your blood vessels, the rate at which your heart beats, and other cellular processes you probably don’t think much about but can’t survive without.
Genes are copied and pasted from parents to children via DNA found in eggs and sperm. Genetic variants (mutations) are also passed along in your parents’ DNA and affect your risk of developing heart disease.
One variant, for instance, changes the way your body processes and clears cholesterol from your blood vessels. Cholesterol buildup in the arteries is a significant component of heart attack and stroke.
Genetically linked heart problems may include:
- Atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias
- Heart failure
- Elevated blood cholesterol
- Congenital heart disease
Some congenital heart problems (those you’re born with) have a genetic component that may be evident at birth, such as a septal defect (“hole in the heart”). Others, such as heart valve malformation, may not cause symptoms until adulthood.
Can you prevent genetically related heart problems?
It’s not always possible to prevent genetically linked heart problems. A structural malformation such as a septal defect, for instance, can’t be prevented but is often easily treated with surgery.
A genetic predisposition to heart problems doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to develop heart disease. However, it does indicate you’re more likely than people without a genetic variant to develop early cardiac problems.
Understanding your genetic risks and addressing other factors such as poor diet, physical inactivity, or other unhealthy habits can help prevent heart problems or identify issues early when they’re more easily treated.
The value of a heart-healthy lifestyle
Although you can’t change your genes or live a lifestyle that “guarantees” you won’t develop problems, heart-healthy habits can significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Diet and exercise get a lot of attention when focusing on heart health, and rightly so. But restful sleep, good hydration, and adequate relaxation also help keep your heart and circulatory system functioning at peak performance.
An active and nutritionally sound daily routine can also help prevent other diseases that affect your heart health, such as diabetes or elevated blood pressure, many of which also have a genetic influence.
For more information about genes and heart disease and how to decrease your risks, schedule a visit at Premier Cardiology Consultants today. Call the nearest office or request an appointment online.