Family History of Serious Heart Conditions is a Warning to Your HealthGenetics plays a strong role in the increase of your risk for many cardiac disorders. Some inherited cardiac disorders include congenital heart disease, familial dilated cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmias. Having a family history of coronary heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure are inherited risk factors that should be carefully monitored.
Other inherited heart conditions include:
• Brugada syndrome
• Cardiac myxoma
• Familial hypercholesterolemia
• Long QT syndrome
• Sudden cardiac arrest/death
• Inherited Cardiovascular Connective Tissue Disease
The Role Genes PlayGenes control the different functions in the body, including the cardiovascular system. Genes determine how the cells in your heart communicate with each other, and they can determine the strength and pliability of your blood vessels.
A single mutated gene that is inherited from one or both parents is enough to determine your likelihood of developing a cardiac disorder. For example, a genetic mutation can change the way a protein processes cholesterol, which can possibly lead to blocked arteries.
Family HistoryWhen your doctor is aware of your family history of cardiac problems, they can determine your likelihood of developing the same problems. For instance, a Harvard University study showed that people are more likely to have a heart attack if they have a parent or sibling who had a heart attack before they turned 50.
Serious Cardiac ConditionsMany of the inherited conditions that cause arrhythmias and sudden cardiac arrest that leads to death are well understood in the medical community.
Some common inherited cardiac conditions that can lead to sudden death include:
• Atrial fibrillation – increases the risk of stroke
• Brugada syndrome – causes sudden cardiac arrest
• Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia – causes irregular heartbeats while exercising
• Long QT syndrome – causes rapid heartbeats
• Short QT syndrome – causes life-threatening arrhythmias
If you have relatives with any of these disorders, then schedule regular medical screenings and follow preventative treatment options.