If you’ve been following me lately, you know the grim picture: 610,000 people die each year in the U.S. from heart disease. That’s one out of every four deaths, and it affects both men and women.
While many of the risk factors for this silent killer are lifestyle choices, there are some that we can’t control. Your genetic profile is one. Certain genes are, unfortunately, associated with higher incidence of heart disease.While we can’t change our genetics, it’s important to know if you have one or more of these genes so you can take appropriate care of yourself. Here are three genes I highly recommend you have tested to assess your risk of heart disease:
Risk Factor Gene #1: Apolipoprotein E – APO is a genetic factor associated with overproduction of cholesterol. While I believe that heart disease is an inflammation issue, cholesterol does play a role in heart disease, so it makes sense to test for this gene. If you do have high cholesterol in conjunction with other indicators of heart disease we can discuss both traditional drug therapies and natural options to help lower it.
Risk Factor Gene #2: Factor V Leiden – Factor V (the “V” is a Roman numeral, so it’s pronounced “factor five”) is a clotting factor. If you have this gene you’re more likely to form blood clots, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. In the video above, I mention three inexpensive, natural remedies we use to help our patients with Factor V stay heart-healthy.
Risk Factor Gene #3: MTHFR – This is a gene variable found in about 40% of the population. This gene affects your body’s ability to process certain B vitamins, which regulate the amount of the amino acid homocysteine in your blood. Because high homocysteine levels are associated with increased inflammation, the presence of MTHFR genes does increase your risk of heart disease.
Don’t Get Panicked, Get Proactive!
It’s important to remember that just because you have one or more of these genes doesn’t mean you are doomed to get heart disease. Diet and lifestyle do make a huge difference! But it’s important to know in advance whether you have a genetic profile that predisposes you to heart disease, so you can make the diet lifestyle changes that will help you thrive.
For all our patients, but especially those whose genes put them at higher risk, we recommend running blood work every six months to be sure you’re still on track for optimal health. Your semi-annual wellness check is the perfect time to do this. We look at your lab results, your lifestyle, your diet, and figure it all out.
If it’s been a while since you came in for a well check, now’s the time! Schedule your next visit today, and let’s make sure your heart stays healthy and strong!