What Your Family History Can Tell You About Your Heart Health

Family Health History

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death in both men and women in the United States. To help combat this dangerous chronic health condition, medical scientists have established several factors that can contribute to a person’s risk of heart disease. Some of these factors, such as diet, activity level, and tobacco use, are modifiable risk factors, while others, such as family history, are non-modifiable. Fortunately for patients with a positive family history of CVD, there are steps that can be taken to stay healthy and lower their risk.

When evaluating a patient for their risk for cardiovascular disease, family history is an important tool for physicians. If your parents, siblings, or children have had problems with CVD, heart attack, or stroke, your risk of the disease is increased. Past research has clearly defined this link between family history and heart disease—one Utah study found that although only 17 percent of families had a strong positive history of the disease, these families accounted for over 72 percent of heart attacks, heart surgery, and other cardiac events. 

Knowing your family history and evaluating your risk for CVD can help you to make the changes necessary to prevent further complications of the disease. If you have a family history of heart disease, consider modifying your other risk factors by doing the following:

  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce the amounts of saturated and trans fats in your diet
  • Reduce your sodium intake
  • Control high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Manage your weight
  • Control diabetes
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage your stress levels
  • Moderate your alcohol intake

The Heart Center at Los Robles is nationally recognized for providing the patients in our community with some of the best cardiac outcomes. Our staff of heart and vascular experts works hard to offer the highest quality of cardiovascular care with the most advanced medical equipment available. If you would like to learn more about our comprehensive healthcare services, contact Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center at (805) 497-2727.

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