Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does a family history of heart attack mean I will also have one?"
All of my older relatives have had many troubles with their hearts. All of my aunts and uncles have had heart attacks or strokes, and many have died from those issues. This has occurred on both my mother's and father's sides of the family. With that type of family history of heart problems, am I destined to have the same issues? What can I do to prevent this from happening to me as well?
I am sorry that your family has had so much trouble with heart disease. There are many different types of heart disease that can run in families. It sounds like a lot of folks in your fmaily have coronary artery disease. This is the type of heart disease that runs in families. When people have a strong family history of heart attacks and other types of heart disease, often it is because other conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes also run in the family. These are the leading contributors to developing cornary artery disease. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can review your family history to see if an obvious genetically inherited condition could be present. In addition, you should get your blood pressure checked every year. At some point you should also have your cholesterol checked. Depending on your family history, you should be checked for diabetes as well. If your blood pressure is in check, your bad cholesterol is not elevated, and you do not have diabetes, then your risk for developing coronary artery disease is certainly lower. Remember that getting regular exercise can also be helpful, assuming you are healthy enough to exercise. Good luck.
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