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Can Genetic Testing Predict a Heart Attack?

By    |   Thursday, 14 Jul 2016 03:28 PM

If you could take a genetic test that would predict whether or not you were susceptible to an impending heart attack or the development of heart disease, would you take it? There may be promising evidence to suggest that genetic testing may be able to predict a heart attack.

Dr. William Kraus, a preventive cardiologist and researcher at Duke University, tells the American Heart Association that heart attack risk has genetic influences and “risk factors for heart disease are strongly linked to family history.”

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Kraus also explains that additional genetic factors, such as ethnicity, can increase risk for heart attacks and heart disease: African-Americans are at higher risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke; Hispanics have a one in three chance of developing high blood pressure, and 50 percent of Hispanics struggle with high cholesterol — all risk factors for heart attack and heart disease.

Researchers studying whether a genetic test can predict a heart attack, says Harvard Medical School, have discovered initial indications of DNA evidence of heart attack risk. Around 30 different DNA sequence sites have been identified that indicate an increased risk of a heart attack. Risk increases as the number of variants, or deviations, of a DNA sequence increase.

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Though genetic testing may indicate heart attack risk, additional research is needed to find possible solutions, in addition to healthy lifestyle choices, to prevent a potential heart attack.

Two research groups have discovered that an alteration on chromosome 9 indicates that a person’s risk for a heart attack is increased by 40 percent, according to the Stanford School of Medicine’s Tech Museum of Innovation.

Dr. Ruth McPherson, one of the researchers, clarified that in addition to an alteration on chromosome 9 as an indicator of increased risk of heart attack, a person’s overall risk factors such as health, age, gender, smoking history, cholesterol levels, and clinical history of heart problems or diabetes are all taken into consideration to determine heart attack risk.

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If you could take a genetic test that would predict whether or not you were susceptible to an impending heart attack or the development of heart disease, would you take it? There may be promising evidence to suggest that genetic testing may be able to predict a heart attack.
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Thursday, 14 Jul 2016 03:28 PM
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