Medically reviewed on August 1, 2022 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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From eye color to height, genes provide essential instructions to your body, determining characteristics transferred from parent to offspring. However, genes can also pass down less desirable traits—like the likelihood of developing certain conditions or diseases.
If you’re concerned about your long-term health or wondering what chronic illnesses you may be more susceptible to, you may ask, “Is heart disease genetic?”
Genetic factors may contribute to the likelihood of developing coronary heart disease, but genetics aren’t the only elements to consider for heart health. 
We’ll explore the related genetic health issues, environmental factors, and what you can do to lower your risk factor. Take your health into your hands, and read on to discover more about the relationship between genetics and cardiovascular disease.
First, understand that heart disease isn’t a singular illness. It’s a catch-all term for a variety of heart-related health conditions. 
Most commonly, heart disease refers to coronary artery disease (CAD). This specific type of heart disease is caused by constriction or blockage of the coronary arteries, inhibiting blood vessels from supplying the heart with crucial oxygen. 
Other forms of heart disease may: 
Prioritizing your heart health is crucial for achieving overall, long-term wellness. Not only is heart disease the leading cause of death in the U.S., but the symptoms of heart disease may not be immediately visible. Often, individuals are unaware of the severity of the heart issues until they suffer a major cardiac event, such as: 
Heart disease is a serious issue. But the more you understand about this prevalent ailment, the better chance you have of mitigating your risks and protecting yourself from danger.
Hereditary traits are genes that are passed on from one generation to the next.  That means you could have a genetic predisposition to heart disease. But modern science has yet to pinpoint the exact correlation between genetics and inherited heart disease. Still, it’s widely believed that if heart disease is part of your family health history, you are more likely to develop heart disease yourself.
So, what are the most critical factors for determining your hereditary risk for heart disease? Consider the following elements:
Heart disease can affect both men and women and people from all racial and ethnic groups. While statistics may vary between groups or geographic regions, the general risks of heart disease can apply to anyone.
Discovering information about your family's medical health isn’t always easy. Notably, healthcare providers can’t typically share medical records with anyone besides the patient. That means you may need to do a little work to discover more about your potential genetic risk.
Investigate the following methods for building an accurate family medical history:
The more you can learn about your family medical history, the more accurate a picture you can develop about your heart disease risk. Share what you discover with your healthcare provider to ensure you receive the very best medical advice and preventative treatment. Additionally, you might consider investigating your heart health through simple at-home heart health testing.
A family history of heart disease isn’t the only genetic factor to consider. In other words, your risk for heart disease can be influenced by other health conditions, some of which may also be genetic. Certain conditions can increase the stress and strain on your heart and contribute to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, and other serious cardiac events. 
If your family has a history of any of the following health conditions, your likelihood of developing heart disease may be increased: 
Just like you can’t change your height or the color of your eyes, there’s not much you can do about your family’s health history or the heart-related genes you inherit. That said, you can take action to minimize your risk and remain proactive in the fight against heart disease.
Your risk of developing heart disease isn’t entirely dependent on genetics. Various lifestyle factors could have a major effect on your risk level, and prioritizing your health could help to offset any genetic predispositions.
Additionally, it may be helpful to remember that environmental factors also play a role in your family medical history.  It can be difficult to determine what is genetic and what is related to family members sharing a common environment.
If you’re interested in the best ways to lower your risk of heart disease, consider the following lifestyle changes: 
In addition, if you are dealing with health issues like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, several medications are available to treat these conditions. Talk to your healthcare provider about what medications may be right for you, whether that’s vitamins for heart health or heart health supplements, but remember that medication and supplements may also require lifestyle changes to remain effective.
Focus on what you can do to lower your risk of heart disease today by staying active and making healthy lifestyle decisions. Our Heart Health Test offers accurate measurements of cholesterol, triglycerides, and HbA1c. As with all our tests, the Heart Health Test is physician-reviewed and HIPAA-compliant to ensure accuracy and privacy.
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