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Heart Disease Causes and the Role of Genetics

Heart disease is one of the biggest killers on our planet and the numbers are rising. But how can this be? Is it due to genetic mutations, lifestyle, or perhaps a combination of the two? In this article, we will explore whether this disease is genetic as well as discuss other heart disease causes. 

Is Heart Disease Genetic?

Yes, studies have shown that heart disease can be hereditary; or rather, one’s risk of developing heart disease can be higher due to one’s genetic makeup. Therefore, if heart disease runs in your family, then there is a chance that you have a genetic predisposition to developing this disease. It is advisable to ensure that you live a healthy lifestyle if you are concerned about your chances of developing heart disease. 

Heart Disease Causes

While genetics can determine whether or not you are predisposed to developing heart disease, there are certain factors that can increase this risk and put fuel on the fire. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol: Both high blood pressure and cholesterol damage one’s arteries. This damage can lead to an increased buildup of plaque which effectively narrows one’s arteries. The arteries that are most often damaged are those that lead to the heart and brain which can cause heart disease. 
  • Diabetes: While one might not realise it, suffering from diabetes can double one’s likelihood of developing heart disease. This is due to the fact that diabetes damages the blood vessels within the heart.  
  • Smoking: We all know smoking is bad for us and is known for causing lung cancer; however, it can also be responsible for the development of heart disease. This is because smoking raises triglycerides within the blood. It also makes the blood sticky and susceptible to clotting, damages cells that line one’s blood vessels, increases plaque buildup, and ultimately narrows one’s blood vessels while thickening one’s blood. 
  • Unhealthy Diet: A bad diet filled with unhealthy fats and sodium can affect one’s likelihood of developing heart disease. If you are worried about developing this disease then it is important to fill your diet with fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. 
  • Physical Inactivity: As we all know, being physically active is important as it gets the blood pumping and helps your body process foods that are consumed. Those that live a sedentary lifestyle do have a higher chance of developing heart disease. 
  • Obesity: A sedentary lifestyle, paired with a bad diet can lead to obesity which often leads to high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and more. All of these factors dramatically increase one’s risk of heart disease. 

What Types of Tests Can You Do to Check for Heart Disease? 

Your healthcare provider can check for heart disease with a number of non-invasive tests. Blood pressure and cholesterol tests are two of the most common tests used to determine your risk of heart disease. Other tests that can be used to detect potential problems with your heart include blood clotting and high homocysteine levels. But if you really want to know, opt for a genetic test. This will provide you with a detailed look at your family’s history of heart disease and give you an indication if you are at risk.

Contact Geneway to find out how you can take a genetic test to determine your predisposition to developing heart disease. Your healthcare provider will also be able to advise you on other potential heart disease causes in your life and help you make changes for the better. 

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