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How Much Does Family History Contribute to Heart Problems?

How Much Does Family History Contribute to Heart Problems?

Each time you meet with a new doctor, you’re asked to fill out a questionnaire so the physician can glean important information, such as your medical history and family’s medical history. The fact is that family medical history plays no small role in your health, and the reasons aren’t always obvious.

To help explain why family history is so important in terms of your cardiovascular health, Dr. Farhad Aduli and the team here at Louisiana Heart and Vascular focus on this important risk factor in this month’s blog post.

Defining family

When we say family history, we’re typically not referring to a cousin twice removed or a great great uncle. Instead, we’re looking for a closer connection, which means your immediate family, including your parents, siblings, and grandparents.

Why family history is a risk

When you’re told that family history plays a role in your health, you might assume that it has everything to do with genetics. While it’s true that genetics are important — you may be genetically disposed to hypertension or cholesterol issues, for example — genetics aren’t the only concern.

Another way in which family history plays out is in your environment. Perhaps you were raised in a family that ate a good deal of fried foods or didn’t exercise often. These bad habits can spill over into adulthood and set you up for increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Family history risks by the numbers

To put some numbers to your heightened risk when you have a family history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), consider these numbers:

Another study backs up these findings and concludes that a family history of CVD is a risk factor for developing premature coronary artery disease. Furthermore, it concludes that the risk of developing premature coronary artery disease increases in proportion to the number of family members who have CVD.

What you can do 

The most important step for protecting your cardiovascular health is to come see us for a cardiology consultation, during which we can review your family history for any potential red flags. If we determine that your risks might be heightened because of your family history, we can take steps to offset these risks by guiding you in heart-healthy habits and monitoring your cardiovascular health more closely.

There is much that we can do together to prevent cardiovascular disease from developing, even if the odds are stacked against you because of family history.

If you have more questions about how your family history can affect your cardiovascular health, book an appointment online or over the phone with Louisiana Heart and Vascular today. We’re located in Covington and Franklinton, Louisiana, and we also serve patients from Mandeville, Hammond, and Slidell.

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