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"Should I be concerned with my heart health given my poor family history?"
My father's side of the family has a long history of heart disease. I am young, I lead an active lifestyle, and I maintain a healthy diet. My blood pressure is consistently low, and my cholesterol levels are normal. I've even been told that my good cholesterol is excellent. Nevertheless, several relatives of mine have suffered heart attacks, and not all of them appeared unhealthy or otherwise at risk. Beyond maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle, is there anything I should be doing at this point in my life to help manage my risk? What other things can I do to improve my heart health in general?
As you know, family history plays a significant role in whether or not we develop heart disease. However, there are many modifiable factors that play into why certain families have a heart disease that you have control over. That is why I recommend discussing this with your primary care physician. Since you can't control who you are related to, you should focus on controlling the other aspects of your health that play a role in the development of coronary artery disease and other types of heart failure. The main risk factors for coronary artery disease include smoking, being sedentary, being overweight, having high bad cholesterol (LDL), having low good cholesterol (HDL), having diabetes, and having high blood pressure. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can review both your family history and your risk factors for heart disease. If you have any risk factors such as high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, or overweight. Also, if you are a smoker, you should get assistance starting the process of quitting. If you take care of all of these things, eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and not a lot of read meat, and get regular exercise, you will be doing everything you can to help prevent heart attacks. Good luck.
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