Preventing Heart Disease: The Role of Genetic Testing
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 10, 2023
Every year, we strive to improve our health and well-being. When it comes to our overall well-being, the heart takes center stage as one of the most vital organs in our body. It’s crucial to keep track of our cardiac health, and now, thanks to preventive genetic testing, it’s easier than ever before.
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Understanding the Importance of Heart Health
The heart tirelessly beats over 100,000 times a day, never resting for a moment, to keep us going strong. Unfortunately, heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide, claiming around 17.9 million lives annually. However, here’s the good news: approximately 80% of cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, can be prevented.
It’s never too early to start taking care of your heart. As we age, very few people escape the clutches of cholesterol or blood pressure issues. We mustn’t overlook these numbers since high cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Similarly, high blood pressure not only poses risks for these conditions but also for peripheral artery disease, vision loss, and kidney disease or failure.
Heart health also has a significant impact on our mental well-being. People with heart disease are more likely to experience feelings of depression. Studies indicate that 33% of heart attack victims exhibit signs of depression. Additionally, poor heart health has been linked to dementia due to its effect on blood flow to the brain. Hence, the functioning of the heart affects numerous aspects of our physical and emotional health.
Tracking Heart Health and Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease
To take proper care of our hearts, we must understand the factors that influence heart health. Several key risk factors for cardiac diseases include a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, lack of exercise, and poor dietary choices. While we cannot control hereditary factors, we can take proactive action by understanding them.
One of the initial steps towards preventing heart disease and heart attacks is knowing your family’s health history regarding heart disease and related conditions. If your father, mother, brother, or sister experienced a heart attack before the age of 50, your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke is higher. This family history not only increases the risk of heart disease but also heightens the risk of factors that contribute to it.
The Role of DNA Testing in Preventing Heart Disease
A simple DNA test can provide valuable insights into how your unique DNA profile influences your risk for conditions like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. At one time, such tests were expensive and performed solely in laboratories. However, today you can easily access affordable at-home DNA tests to learn more about your risk for heart disease.
By taking a DNA test and making informed lifestyle choices based on the results, you can significantly reduce your risk of cardiac disease. Lifestyle adjustments may include exercising more, staying hydrated, increasing fiber intake, managing stress through meditation, shedding excess weight, and reducing consumption of processed foods and sugar.
A DNA test can also uncover food sensitivities, specific vitamin and mineral requirements, and identify workouts that suit your genetic profile for optimal fitness. Additionally, it can provide insights into your sleep patterns, dietary sensitivities, brain health, metabolism, risk of sports injuries, and even skin health.
If a preventive genetic test helps you identify disease risks, prompting you to take proactive action for better heart health, it could very well be the smartest choice you make for yourself.
So why wait? Take control of your heart health today and embrace the power of genetic testing to prevent heart disease. Your heart will thank you for it.