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Blog: Heart Problems Run in My Family — What Should I Do?

Heart Problems Run in My Family — What Should I Do?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By the numbers, it’s responsible for about 700,000 deaths every year in the United States. 

If you have a family history of heart disease, your own risk of developing heart problems increases — and that means it’s even more important to do all you can to keep your heart healthy.At Phoenix Heart, PLLC, our team helps patients understand their risk factors for heart disease, with important screenings that can identify problems in their earliest stages — and even prevent those problems from developing into something more serious. If heart disease runs in your family, here are three simple steps to reduce your own risks.

1. Understand all of your risk factors

Family history of heart disease is definitely one factor among many that can increase your own risk of developing heart disease. Some of these — like family history and age — can’t be changed, but others can.Risk factors that can be changed are termed modifiable, and taking steps to reduce or eliminate them helps balance the risk associated with family history and other factors you can’t change. Modifiable risk factors include:

  • Your blood pressure
  • Your cholesterol levels
  • Your diet
  • Your physical activity level
  • Being overweight
  • Tobacco use

Our team can help you take steps to identify and manage modifiable risk factors to improve your heart health and your overall wellness, too.It’s also important to delve into your family’s medical history: Find out what types of heart ailments your relatives have had and if they’ve had other chronic diseases or medical issues, like diabetes or strokes, that can also be associated with an elevated risk of heart disease.

2. Schedule a heart evaluation

Until the day humans develop see-through skin, the only way to know what’s going on inside your body is to see a doctor. When it comes to your heart health, our team has the skills and experience to evaluate your cardiovascular system and identify even subtle signs of heart trouble.During your evaluation, we review your personal and family medical histories, identify your risk factors for heart disease, review any symptoms you may have had, and perform an exam, including measuring your weight and your blood pressure. We also order bloodwork to measure cholesterol and glucose and look for other potential markers of heart disease.Office visits include an EKG to evaluate your heart’s electrical activity, and we may order other diagnostic testing, like chest X-rays, stress tests, or echocardiograms (a painless ultrasound exam of your heart).

3. Follow your prevention plan

At the conclusion of your visit, our team works closely with you to help you understand your risk profile so we can develop a prevention plan together. Most plans include lifestyle components, like a heart-healthy eating plan, an exercise program that features activities you enjoy, stress management techniques, and other changes based on your needs.Depending on your specific risks, we may advise medication to help manage hypertension or high cholesterol and provide you with support to address other underlying issues, like diabetes or smoking. Every plan includes routine checkups to assess your heart health and function so we can adjust your plan as your needs evolve.

Embrace heart health

Having a family history of heart disease can definitely increase your own risk for developing heart problems, but by taking a proactive approach to your heart health, you can reduce that risk and improve your overall wellness, too. To learn how we can help you develop a heart-healthy lifestyle plan, book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Phoenix Heart in Glendale, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Cottonwood, Black Canyon City, Laveen Village, and Anthem, Arizona, today.

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