Genes and Heart Disease

Here’s some great news out of the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Edmonton: Your genes do not condemn you to heart disease because environment often trumps genetics.

According to one of the country’s top researchers your lifestyle choices and the treatments you take can override genetic predispositions.

The research shows that about 5 per cent of people are especially susceptible to heart disease because they have a genetic mutation. And another 5 per cent are at the other end of the scale – their hearts stay healthy no matter what they do. But the rest of us have a lot more control over our heart health than we realize.

For most people, the advice is simple: don’t smoke, eat a healthy diet and do regular exercise.

The ultimate goal of this work is to develop a genetic test that could predict your risk of heart disease and stroke using a single drop of blood. But the researchers say once you have your genetic risk profile, the solution will likely not be magical genetic surgery.

Paradoxically, they say more they learn about genes, the more they realize the importance of lifestyle choices and socioeconomic factors.

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