Know your risks for de­vel­op­ing heart dis­ease

201 Health - - News - WRIT­TEN BY LUCY PROBERT

Know your risks for de­vel­op­ing heart dis­ease

Short­ness of breath, chest pain, fa­tigue and dizzi­ness – those are all com­mon symp­toms of a heart at­tack. Al­though they may be easy to ig­nore, they can be deadly if left unchecked.. Heart dis­ease re­mains the lead­ing cause of death for both men and women, and more than 700,000 Amer­i­cans suf­fer heart at­tacks ev­ery year. Pay­ing at­ten­tion to heart health and be­ing screened is of the ut­most im­por­tance.

“Man­ag­ing your risks for po­ten­tial heart dis­ease can be life sav­ing,” says Dr. Joseph E. Par­rillo, chair­man of the Heart and Vas­cu­lar Hos­pi­tal at Hack­en­sack Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

Dr. Sa­muel Suede, car­di­ol­o­gist at the Heart and Vas­cu­lar In­sti­tute at En­gle­wood Hos­pi­tal and Med­i­cal Cen­ter, says reg­u­lar car­dio­vas­cu­lar screen­ings for men and women should start in one’s 20s and in­clude a blood pres­sure check, choles­terol pro­file, blood sugar check and a fam­ily his­tory up­date,

“Th­ese tests are done early,” Par­rillo says, “to see if there are fac­tors present that would put you in a high risk cat­e­gory.”

Ge­net­ics play a ma­jor role in in­creas­ing the risk of heart dis­ease in both men and women. As a gen­eral rule, the younger and closer the rel­a­tive, the higher the risk.

“If your fa­ther had a heart at­tack at age 35,” Par­rillo says, “that would be se­ri­ous. But if your great grand­fa­ther had one at age 80, that is of mi­nor sig­nif­i­cance.”

In gen­eral, par­ents and sib­lings are con­sid­ered your clos­est rel­a­tives. And don’t make the mis­take of at­tribut­ing a rel­a­tive’s heart dis­ease to poor health and life­style choices.

“Even though your fa­ther smoked and was over­weight,” Suede says, “and you’re lean and ex­er­cise doesn’t mean you haven’t in­her­ited a gene from him that puts you at risk.”

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