Your Heart Health: What Family History Tells You
Genetics and Cardiovascular Risk
- Genes that appear to predispose a person to congenital heart disease (defects present at birth)
- Apolipoproteins B and E, which are 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—the single, most important risk factor that you can change
- 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—aim for at least 30 minutes per day on most days of the week
- Maintaining an ideal body weight
- Managing your stress
- Moderating your alcohol intake—one or less drinks per day for women, two or less drinks per day for men
- Controlling cholesterol—lowering total cholesterol, LDL, and triglyceride levels while elevating HDL levels
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
Men’s Health Network http://www.menshealthnetwork.org
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca
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Women and heart disease. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Advocate/IssuesandCampaigns/QualityCare/Women-and-Heart-Disease%5FUCM%5F430484%5FArticle.jsp. Updated February 12, 2014. Accessed March 6, 2015.
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- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2015 -
- Update Date: 03/06/2015 -