Did you know that one person succumbs to heart disease every 36 seconds in the United States? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports it to be the leading cause of death in the country, with roughly 659,000 people dying from it every year.
Most of the risk factors of cardiovascular disease are modifiable, meaning they can be controlled with lifestyle changes. These include stress, poor oral health, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, obesity, unhealthy diet, smoking, and high cholesterol. However, there are other things that can put you at risk for it which you can do nothing about, and these include your age, sex, and genetics.
Let’s dig into the details to learn how your genes can predispose you to heart disease and what you can do to mitigate your risk if it runs in your family.
How Genetics Affects Heart Health
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, more than 30 percent of cases of cardiovascular disease are linked to genetic factors. Previous research demonstrated that genetics accounted for only 22 percent of cases. Findings of the more recent study uncovered an 11 percent additional risk for cardiovascular disease, bringing the total to 32 percent.
Having a family history of cardiovascular disease is defined as having a first-degree female relative (i.e., sister or mother), or a first-degree male relative (i.e., brother or father) who had suffered a heart attack or developed heart disease especially at an early age. That is to say, if your mother had a heart attack before age 65, or your father had one before age 55, you’re at a greater risk for it.
However, it’s important to take note that heart disease is caused by an interplay of genetics and lifestyle factors. This means you have the power to mitigate your risk. If you’re living a healthy lifestyle, your family history alone should not scare you.
What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk for Heart Disease
If heart disease runs in your family, and you have other risk factors for it, consider seeing a cardiologist. It’s wise to take proactive measures—and not wait for symptoms to occur.
Your cardiologist can recommend routine check-ups and advise you on which heart health screenings you need and how often. There are some heart health screenings that need to be done as early as age 20, while there are those that may done later on.
Your cardiologist may then work with you to create a strategy to lower your risk for the disease. Your doctor may give you dietary and lifestyle recommendations to help you improve your heart health. These can include the following:
- Smoking cessation
- Losing weight
- Regular exercise
- Having a heart-healthy diet
Reliable Cardiologist in West Orange, NJ
At Hudson MD Group, we have highly qualified cardiologists on our team whom you can count on for expert advice, recommendations, and interventions to help you stay on top of your heart health.
Call us today at (973) 705-4914 for a consultation with one of our cardiologists at one of our five locations: in Englewood Cliffs, Fort Lee, Norwood, Palisades Park, or Ridgefield, New Jersey. We look forward to providing you with the best in cardiovascular health care!