Your Heart Health: What Family History Tells You
Genetics and Cardiovascular Risk
- Genes that appear to predispose a person to congenital heart disease (heart disease from birth)
- Apolipoproteins B and E (proteins that combine with a lipid that affect blood cholesterol concentrations)
- The angiotensinogen gene variant (an alteration in the hormone angiotensinogen, which is associated with high blood pressure)
- Homocysteine (an amino acid which contributes to atherosclerosis by irritating vascular endothelial cells lining the blood vessels)
- C-reactive protein (a protein that is a marker of inflammation and may predict future cardiovascular risk)
How Knowing Your Family History Can Help
What to Do If You Think You Might Be at Risk
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing the total fat, trans fat, and saturated fat in your diet
- Increasing fiber in your diet
- Controlling your blood pressure
- Controlling your diabetes
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining an ideal body weight
- Managing your stress
- Moderating your alcohol intake
- Lowering your total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, and LDL levels
American Heart Association http://www.americanheart.org/
Men’s Health Network http://www.menshealthnetwork.org/
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/
Canadian Association of Family Physicians http://www.cfpc.ca/
Canadian Public Health Health Unit http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/pau-uap/fitness/
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. AHA/ACC guidelines for secondary prevention for patients with coronary and other atherosclerotic vascular disease: 2006 update. National Guideline Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=9373. Accessed April 11, 2011.
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Men and cardiovascular diseases. American Heart Association (AHA) website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/downloadable/heart. Accessed August 25, 2003.
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Pearson, TA, Blair SN, Daniels, SR, et al. AHA guidelines for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and stroke: 2002 update. Circulation. 2002;106:388.
Preventing heart disease and stroke: addressing the nation’s leading killers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/publications/factsheets/Prevention/dhdsp.htm. Accessed April 28, 2009
Women and cardiovascular diseases. American Heart Association (AHA) website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/downloadable/heart. Accessed August 25, 2003.
Yoon PW, Scheuner MT, Peterson-Oehlke KL, et al. Can family history be used as a tool for public health and preventive medicine? Genetics in Medicine. 2002;4:304-310.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 04/2011 -
- Update Date: 04/11/2011 -