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Your Family History of Heart Disease and Stroke

Is heart disease hereditary? “Both the risk of heart disease and risk factors for heart disease are strongly linked to family history,” said William Kraus, M.D., a preventive cardiologist and research scientist at Duke University “If you have a stroke in your family, you are more likely to have one.”

So how can you prepare? Here are a few tips:

  • Do your research and ask about your family history. Even if your family has a clean bill of health, you should be aware of other genetic factors that can increase your family's risk. For example, statistics show that African-Americans face higher risks for high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. Learn more about other genetic factors here.
  • Share your family history with your doctor as soon as possible so they are fully aware of what to look for. It can be scary to share your family's medical history, but sharing with doctors and proper health staff is vital.
  • Counteract your genetics if need be! Just because your family members have suffered from heart disease, doesn't mean you will suffer the same fate. A healthy diet, exercise, and proper medical oversight can prevent heart issues.