Back to home Oct. 2012
Heart Risks Sometimes Hereditary but can be Controlled
Like many health issues, heart disease can run through family lines. However, just because a grandfather, mother or sibling has had heart issues, doesn't mean that everyone in the family is destined to have the same fate.
"It's important to understand what a 'family history' means from a medical standpoint," says cardiologist, Michael Bolooki, M.D. "The highest risk of a heart attack is found when a first degree relative (i.e. mom, dad or sibling) has premature coronary disease. This means a male younger than the age of 50 or a female younger than age 60. In this case, coronary disease includes a heart attack or evidence of disease by stress test or angiogram."
A family history of coronary disease may increase risk two-fold, even in someone with no other cardiac risk factors. "Since we can't choose our genes, we need to control our modifiable risk factors," Dr. Bolooki says.
Risk factors include:
- Weight (including diet and exercise)
- Blood pressure
- Blood glucose (diabetes)
- Tobacco use
"Keeping these risk factors well-controlled can help lower your risk of coronary disease and maybe 'break the cycle,'" he says.
If someone has a family history of premature coronary disease but is asymptomatic, then no routine cardiac testing is required. However, regular follow-up with a primary care physician can help to keep the modifiable risk factors in check. The primary care physician can decide if further testing is appropriate or if consultation with a cardiologist is necessary.
“The highest risk of a heart attack is found when a first degree relative (i.e. mom, dad or sibling) has premature coronary disease,” says Dr. Bolooki.
A History of Heart Disease
Michael Bolooki, M.D.
Lee Physician Group
1682 NE Pine Island Road
Cape Coral, FL 33909