Does Having Family History Of Heart Disease Puts You At Risk?
Most people are aware that genetics and having a family history of heart diseases puts them at greater risk of developing heart problems. But this is not the end of it, you are not sitting ducks waiting to be struck by the lighting, surely if you have a family history of heart disease you are at risk that does not mean you can’t do anything about it. If you are aware of your family history and constantly monitor your health in consultation with a cardiologist, it will drastically lower your risk.
Are You at Risk?
Your susceptibility to heart diseases depends on many factors like your lifestyle, stress, food habits, etc. if you are at the advanced age of your life, have comorbidities like diabetes, smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. you are susceptible to heart disease whether you have a family history or not. However, if you rule out other factors still it is hard to evaluate the risk of heart disease based only on genetics.
Having a family history of heart disease can be defined as a first-degree male relative < 55 years of age or female < 65 years of age) in the family who has suffered from heart disease especially at an early age. But, again the person afflicted with the heart problem might have exposed themselves to other factors responsible for heart diseases such as bad health habits or environmental factors, etc. so to point out the fact whether the heart disease is because of the genetic factor or not is really hard.
Apart from that we also need to analyze the amount of risk because then only the intensity of prevention efforts requirement can be gauged. People at high risk are given every possible care to prevent any mishappening in the future, however, most often people are not even aware that they are at risk and neglect the family history factor altogether, which is a reason of concern and might be the cause of an increasing number of heart diseases.
How to Determine Your Risk
At times, the reason for family history can be easily assessed, for example,if your family has a history of high cholesterol problems then providing treatment for high cholesterol aggressively can help prevent heart disease. However, as described earlier, things may not be so simple most of the time. We as cardiologists have encountered several cases where the patient was in perfect health yet they suddenly started showing the symptoms of heart disease.
So, it becomes important to gather more information to be able to determine the risk accurately. Usually, imaging study is performed to assess the condition of the artery and that can be done either with a CT calcium score or a carotid ultrasound or other means as deemed suitable by the cardiologist.
If there are indications of artery disease, its severity is assessed and the treatment according to the provided to prevent further deterioration thereby preventing chances of future heart diseases.
Going by the current trends a huge number of Indians will suffer from heart diseases in the coming decades, especially with risks increased manifold due to the COVID-19 and consequences on our lives. The good news is in most cases these diseases are preventable, but with timely diagnosis and medical intervention.
So, to be able to understand where you stand, you need to consult your doctor and is advised should go for the check-up to rule out any mishappening in the future.
What steps to take to reduce the risk?
The first step is to be aware of your family’s medical history, even the history of your blood relatives can give insights into possible risks.
Get your medical check-ups done to rule out any immediate risks to your health. Should keep a close eye on cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar, especially if you are over 30 years of age.
If you experience any heart health-related problems then should go for intensive check-ups, so in case there is some problem it can be dealt with in initial stages.
Make changes in your lifestyle and stay away from factors that might lead to heart problems, such as smoking, high cholesterol diet, sedentary lifestyle, etc.