Heart diseases are the various disorders that could hamper the normal functioning of heart. Some of these heart disorders could be inherited through generations.
Genetics of heart disease
Some conditions like high blood pressure and blockages in the artery that supply heart with blood run in the families. They could have subtle effect on individual due to genetic changes but collectively may cause disease. Monogenic conditions are the cases where only one or very few genetic changes have effect in causing heart disorders like inherited cardiomyopathies, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and dilated cardiomyopathy that affect the heart muscles.
There are also inherited heart conditions that hamper the electric system of the heart, causing abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias. Some of the heart disorders that are inherited are
Long- QT syndrome – a prolonged QT interval that can cause rapid and chaotic heartbeats.
Short – QT syndrome – a shortened QT interval that can result in arrhythmias.
Brugada symptom – a genetic disorder of the heart rhythm that can result in ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac arrest.
Atrial fibrillation – is a common form of arrhythmia that increases the risk of stroke.
Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia – a heart disorder of the calcium channels in the heart muscle, resulting in problems with electrical signaling and irregular heartbeats; especially during exercise.
Hereditary factors as contributors
Genetic variations are passed from parents to children in the DNA of the sperms and the eggs. Genes are responsible for controlling every aspect of cardiovascular system right from the way cells in the heart communicate to the strength of the blood vessels.
A genetic variation in a single gene can affect the chances of developing a heart disease. When a family member is diagnosed with a heart disorder, other members in the family are also advised to undergo screening for risk factors early stage disorder that might not have shown symptoms yet.
- Genetic testing can determine and identify if heart disorder run in families through generations.
- Type 2 diabetes has a genetic component, so having type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Inheriting hypertension is also a cause for developing heart diseases.
- Inheriting higher levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream referred as hypercholesterolemia an also be the cause to develop cardiovascular diseases.
- Typical symptoms of inherited heart conditions include dizziness, palpitations and blackouts.
When there is a history of sudden cardiac arrests or premature deaths in your family, when there is a family member diagnosed with a heart disease, or there is a sudden unknown death without cause in the family, take the cue and get tested for early symptoms of cardiovascular diseases.
When you get tested for inherited heart disease, the risk of having a heart attack or coronary heart disease is greatly reduced. Lifestyle history like excessive smoking and having a poor diet can also be a cause of developing heart diseases.
One can reduce the risk of developing heart diseases by having a healthy lifestyle, eating well, not smoking, keeping a check on cholesterol and blood sugar levels, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active.