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Can Coronary Artery Disease Run in Families?

Can Coronary Artery Disease Run in Families?

Each year, more than 375,000 people in the United States die of coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common type of heart disease. Various risk factors increase your risk of CAD, and family history of the disease is one of them. Fortunately, genetics don’t have the final say when it comes to heart disease. 

Internal medicine physician Samuel I. Fink, MD, FACP, wants patients to know that while you can’t change your genetics, you can influence other risk factors. In fact, risk factors such as what you eat and your lifestyle habits have a more powerful impact on your risk of developing CAD than your genes. 

Through his practice in Tarzana, California, Dr. Fink strives to provide the best internal medicine care to patients in the San Fernando Valley region. Preventive care visits play a key role in lowering your chances of developing chronic diseases like CAD. 

Genes and your risk of CAD

Genes do play a role in the chances of developing coronary artery disease. To date, about 60 gene variants are linked to CAD risk. These genes influence factors such as blood clotting, cholesterol transport, and blood vessel inflammation. 

The good news is that even if you have a family history of CAD, adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle can help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy and reduce your chances of developing CAD. 

Beyond genetics: Lifestyle and environment

Lifestyle choices and environmental factors have a powerful influence on heart health and risk of CAD. Smoking, an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and being overweight boost your risk of heart disease. Because these things are within your control, this means you have the power to protect your heart health.

Controlling risk factors

Keeping risk factors under control is the focus of preventing heart diseases. The first step is to schedule a visit with Dr. Fink for a heart health check. During this visit, he may recommend certain tests to evaluate your heart health. The exact tests depend on your personal medical history. 

Controlling issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight are key to preventing coronary artery disease. Talk to Dr. Fink about your family history of CAD for individualized screening recommendations.

Keeping your heart healthy

Engaging in regular physical activity, eating a heart-healthy diet, managing risk factors, and getting regular heart checkups is an important part of staying on top of your heart health.

While you can't change your genetic makeup, taking proactive, preventive measures can significantly lower your risk of developing coronary artery disease, even if it runs in your family. To schedule a heart health check and for all of your heart health needs, contact Samuel I. Fink, MD, to request a visit today!

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