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Know your family history, save your life: Hereditary heart conditions explained

Cardiac disorders are among the most common health issues worldwide, and many of them are inherited. That means that if someone in your family has a heart condition, you may be predisposed to developing one as well. People with a family history of heart disease should see a doctor even if they aren’t experiencing any symptoms.

 What is a cardiac disorder?

A cardiac disorder is an illness that affects the heart or blood vessels. Congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, and heart failure are all examples of heart disease.

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth heart disease. They are caused by abnormal heart development during fetal growth. Some of these conditions are minor and do not require treatment, whereas others are severe and necessitate immediate medical attention.

While some defects can be corrected through surgery or other interventions during childhood, others may necessitate lifelong monitoring and management. In addition, some defects may not be detected until later in life, particularly if they are mild or do not manifest symptoms until adulthood.

Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of heart disease worldwide. It happens when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked as a result of plaque buildup. This can result in chest pain, a heart attack, or death from a heart attack.

Arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats that can cause the heart to beat too quickly, too slowly, or irregularly. This can result in exhaustion, dizziness, or fainting. Some arrhythmias are harmless, while others can be fatal.

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to effectively pump blood to meet the body’s needs. This can result in fluid accumulation in the lungs and other parts of the body, resulting in shortness of breath and swelling in the legs and abdomen.

What if I don’t have any symptoms?

You may be more likely to acquire these diseases if you have a family history of heart disease. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, it’s still important to undergo a heart evaluation and discuss your family history with your doctor. To assess the condition of your heart, your doctor might advise tests such as an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, or exercise stress test.

To prevent or manage cardiac disease, early detection is essential. If you are at high risk, your doctor might advise making lifestyle changes including stopping smoking, adopting a balanced diet, and exercising frequently.

It is up to you to take early action to avoid or control cardiac diseases because they can be inherited. Talk to your doctor about your risk and get a cardiac evaluation if you have a family history of heart disease. Always remember that prevention is always preferable to treatment, and your best line of defense against heart disease is a healthy lifestyle.