When it comes to understanding the risk factors for a disease, it is very important to know your family history, because many diseases run in families. Heart conditions are no exception. The answer lies in genes.
Our body is made up of trillion of cells and each cell has a nucleus that contains information which makes each person unique. This information is our genes. Every one of us has around 20 000 – 25 000 different genes. We inherit genes from our parents and these genes predetermine how we look and how the body works. A fault in one of these genes may cause inherited disease, i.e. if one of the parents has a faulty gene, there is a 50:50 chance that you can inherit it and then pass it on to your children.
Unfortunately, we cannot change our family history, but we must know it to be able to avoid heart disease. First of all, understanding your positive family history and inheriting risk factors that predispose to disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and excess weight, suggests the need to improve other risk factors like decreasing cholesterol and giving up smoking.
So, it is true that you are most likely to have a heart condition if it runs in your family. If a parent or sibling has been diagnosed with a heart condition, this information can help your physician to diagnose you. Therefore, go ahead and collect this information even if you in a good health. This way you can be prepared for whatever may come.
But your family history doesn’t necessarily have to become your future. If you take care of the risk factors, you can help yourself prevent the disease. Do everything you can to change your environment and start a heart-healthy life regardless of the amount of risk factors you have inherited. That is, change the behaviors that can increase your chances of acquiring the disease. Practice healthy eating habits, physical activity and eliminate smoking. Any man can make these changes and even modest improvements in health will surely make a big difference.