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Your Heart Health: What Family History Tells You
Genetics and Cardiovascular Risk
- Genes that appear to predispose a person to congenital heart disease, which is heart disease from 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
- 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.heart.org
Men’s Health Network http://www.menshealthnetwork.org
Canadian Association of Family Physicians http://www.cfpc.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated January 12, 2013. Accessed June 18, 2013.
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Heart disease prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/prevention.htm. Updated November 16, 2009. Accessed June 18, 2013.
Human genome project information. United States Genome Science Program, Oak Ridge National Laboratory website. Available at: http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human%5FGenome/home.shtml. Accessed June 18, 2013.
Hunt SC, Gwinn M, Adams TD. Family history assessment: strategies for prevention of cardiovascular disease. Am J Prev Med. 2003;24:136-142.
Johnson J, Giles RT, et al. Utah's Family High Risk Program: bridging the gap between genomics and public health. Prev Chronic Dis. 2005;2(2):A24.
Jomini V, Oppliger-Pasquali S, Wietlisbach V, et al. Contribution of major cardiovascular risk factors to familial premature coronary artery disease: the GENECARD project. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002;40:676-684.
Khot UN, Khot MB, Bajzer CT, et al. Prevalence of conventional risk factors in patients with coronary heart disease. JAMA. 2003;290:898-904.
Olden K, Wilson S. Environmental health and genomics: visions and implications. Nature Reviews: Genetics. 2000;1:149-153.
Pearson TA, Blair SN, et al. AHA Guidelines for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke: 2002 Update: Consensus Panel Guide to Comprehensive Risk Reduction for Adult Patients Without Coronary or Other Atherosclerotic Vascular Diseases. American Heart Association Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee. Circulation. 2001;106(3):388-391.
Smith SC Jr, Allen J, et al. AHA/ACC guidelines for secondary prevention for patients with coronary and other atherosclerotic vascular disease: 2006 update: endorsed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Circulation. 2006;113(19):2363-2372.
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 April 4, 2013. Accessed June 18, 2013.
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: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 06/2013
- Update Date: 06/18/2013