Coronary artery disease (CAD) is considered by disease in the arteries that supply the heart muscle. It is the most predominant life-threatening heart condition. Regardless of numerous significant innovations, the genetic influence on this difficult ailment remains far from clear. However, research continues to give clues that might soon advance both the prediction and the treatment of this common disease away from present testing of risk factors.
Heart Disease and Genes
Family members share genes, lifestyles, behaviours and surroundings that can influence their health and risk for the disease. Heart disease can run in a family, and the risk for heart disease can increase depending upon the race, age or ethnicity. When family members pass qualities from one generation to another via genes, that process is known as heredity.
Genetic factors possibly play some role in heart disease, high blood pressure, and other associated conditions. But, it is also possible that individuals with a family history of heart disease share usual surroundings and other probable factors that raise their risk.
The risk for heart disease can increase even more when heredity associates with harmful lifestyle choices, like smoking tobacco or cigarettes and eating not so healthy food. Genes have been recognized in several other rarer diseases that are passed down in relations. Genetic tests are gladly available when these issues are doubted.
Few genes, on the other hand, may not explain a disease, however, rather might recognize a biological process that impacts the growth of the disease. Presently, scientists found an association between genetic abnormalities that cause raised levels of two forms of cholesterol which are low-density lipoprotein and lipoprotein-a. It also causes aortic stenosis, which is a disease that leads to calcium build-up on the aortic valve. These irregularities have been related to coronary artery disease and it may affect heart valves also.
Few of the heart diseases are caused by one or a few genetic changes that have a very strong effect in triggering the disease. Recognised as monogenic conditions, they comprise uncommon disorders that typically affect the heart’s muscle called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or an electrical system like long QT syndrome. Another instance is familial hypercholesterolemia, which leads to very high cholesterol levels and may cause premature coronary artery disease.
However, most cases of coronary artery disease are polygenic that means they start from changes in a number of different genes. Researchers have recognized 67 diverse sites in the DNA sequence known as variants that raises heart attack risk.
Importance of Family History Based Heart Conditions
If you have a family history of cardiovascular disease, that means there is an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like angina, coronary heart disease, stroke, heart attack and heart failure stroke.
Genetic heart disease symptoms
- Father or brother was below the age of 55 when they were identified with the cardiovascular disease
- Mother or sister was below the age of 65 when they were identified with cardiovascular disease.
Family history of heart disease tests
- If there is a family history of cardiovascular disease, make sure you tell your physician. They may want to check your cholesterol and blood pressure.
- If you are over 40 years of age, visit your physician and have a heart health check to find out your risk of getting heart disease.
- The testing might comprise having the C-reactive protein (CRP) level and calcium scan done.
Hereditary heart disease prevention
Unfortunately, nothing can be done to change family history. Having a family history of heart disease is occasionally called a ‘non-modifiable’ risk factor.
But, you can always choose your lifestyle. That means even if you have a family history, you can decrease the heart disease risk by controlling other risk causes by:
- Staying physically active
- Keeping to healthy body shape and weight
- Eating well
- Controlling high blood pressure
- Not smoking
- Controlling high cholesterol
- Managing diabetes if present.
Types of Heart conditions due to Family History
Cardiac amyloidosis: It is kind of restrictive cardiomyopathy in which the heart turn out to be rigid and stiff due to protein clumps replacing normal heart tissue. This can be either inherited or due to other diseases.
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD): ARVD causes the muscle tissue in the heart to die and be changed by fatty, scar tissue. ARVD causes heart failure, arrhythmias, and unexpected cardiac death in young people.
Cardiac myxoma: This occurs in 1 in 10 cases and it is non-cancerous heart tumour. It can cause heart arrhythmias, and an embolism, in which tumour cells break off and travel via the bloodstream.
Brugada syndrome: It is a type of inherited cardiac arrhythmias. This can be triggered by many drugs and electrolyte differences. Here, there is a defect in the channels where the heart’s electrical activity takes place, causing possibly life-threatening heart arrhythmias.
Familial dilated cardiomyopathy: Although the reason for this is not known, one-third of people can develop this disorder inherited from their parents.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: it is a kind of cardiomyopathy which is typically inherited because of the change in the genes of the proteins in the heart muscle that causes it to thicken.
Familial valvular heart disease: This is congenital, that means you are born with them because of gene mutations. The most common congenital valve irregularities are mitral valve prolapse, bicuspid aortic valve, Ebstein anomaly of the tricuspid valve and pulmonary valve stenosis.
Loeyz-Dietz syndrome: This genetic disorder leads to the enlarged aorta (blood vessel via which blood flows from the heart to the rest of the body). This can weaken and stretch it, causing in an aneurysm, a swelling in the aortic wall, as well as wall tears. Individuals with this syndrome are frequently born with heart defects such as patent ductus arteriosus, atrial septal defect, or bicuspid aortic valve.
Long QT syndrome: This irregularity in the heart’s electrical system is commonly inherited, however, can also be due to drug use, and can produce a severe arrhythmia that leads to fainting or sudden death.
Familial hypercholesterolemia: It is caused due to a chromosomal defect that starts at birth and results in very high LDL cholesterol. Risk of heart attacks at a young age is also expected.
Marfan syndrome: This genetic disorder upsets the aorta in a similar way as Loeyz-Dietz syndrome. The two syndromes can be differentiated by the dissimilar gene mutations they each have.
Other Common Factors affecting Heart Diseases
Many of the risk factors for heart disease include lifestyle choices. You can reduce the chances of developing heart disease by identifying the areas that put you at risk and taking steps to change them.
Obesity: Being obese raises the heart disease risk as it leads to other risk factors like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Smoking: Smokers are more possible to get a heart attack and atherosclerosis. The reason is carbon monoxide can damage the blood vessel lining and nicotine increases the blood pressure. There are chances of putting yourself at risk of getting a cardiac disease if you are around other people when they are smoking.
Sedentary lifestyle: Routine exercise decreases the heart disease risk in part by aiding to keep the cholesterol lower, weight down, diabetes managed and for few people to keep the blood pressure lower.
Unhealthy diet: A diet which is high in sugar, fat, and cholesterol can contribute to getting heart diseases such as atherosclerosis. High blood pressure is also caused by eating too much salt. Consuming a diet which is rich in vegetables, whole grains and fruits can aid in reducing the risk.
Stress: Although the exact association between stress and heart disease is still not known, prolonged and excessive stress certainly adds to long-term disease such as high blood pressure. Stress may also impact your behaviour and the lifestyle risks you take that adds to heart disease. For example, you may smoke and/or drink when you are at stress, both known contributors to developing heart disease.
Too much alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol can increase blood pressure and it raises cholesterol level, which can cause atherosclerosis. It can lead to stroke, heart arrhythmia’s, and cardiomyopathy. Reduce alcohol consumption to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
Poor hygiene: When you do not maintain hygiene by not washing your hands regularly, you are more prone to the risk of picking up viruses and bacteria that can cause a heart infection, mainly if you already have a cardiac condition. Poor dental hygiene can definitely cause heart disease, particularly heart infections.
Other Risk Factors
There are few risk factors that you have no control over, comprising:
Sex: Men have a greater risk of having a heart attack than women do and they are more at risk to get heart disease. Women’s risk rises after menopause however, is still lower than men’s.
Age: As you get older, the heart muscle might get thicker and/or weaker and the arteries may become impaired. Many people who die from heart disease are of age 60 or older.