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Genetics and Heart Disease

Genetic testing is a new era in preventive medicine. More than 50% of Americans carry a gene that can dramatically increase the risk for heart attack and stroke. Although much is yet to be discovered about genes that elevate cardiovascular risk, our current knowledge is beginning to transform patient care.  With the ever-accelerating pace of new discovery linking DNA and vascular disease, the American Heart Association now recommends ALL health professionals be trained in genetics.


At Optimal Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center we utilize genetic testing to build a prevention and wellness plan for each patient.  Here, our team provides answers to commonly asked questions some patients may have when it comes to decoding DNA:


1.  If I have the Heart Attack Gene, do I really want to know? There is a widespread misconception that a genetic test for heart attack parallels opening Pandora’s Box.  However, cardiovascular disease is NOT inevitable even in patients with high risk genotypes.  Genetic testing offers powerful insight as to how a patient can best turn around their health and guide specific actions for medical and lifestyle decision-making.  Genetic testing is also a great tool to personalizing treatment for each patient’s genetic profile.
2. If I have a dangerous gene, will my insurance rates go up? The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) bars health plans from using genetic information for underwriting purposes, i.e. denying coverage or increasing premiums.  In addition, the law states that employers cannot base hiring, firing, nor promotion decisions on a patient’s genetic profile.
3. Should I have genetic testing if I have no family history of heart disease? Research shows that family history alone is a poor predictor of heart attack or stroke risk.  This is because the arterial disease typically develops silently and can go undetected for decades until it becomes severe enough to trigger a heart attack or stroke.  You may believe you have no family history of cardiovascular disease when, in reality, a relative may have undiagnosed disease.  It is also possible to carry genes that increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke even if you have NO affected relatives. If you know what risks are spelled out in your own DNA, you can fight them with scientifically proven strategies tailored to your specific genes.


Looking for a doctor who is on the cutting-edge of cardiology care? At Optimal Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center we use genetic testing to help provide our patients with optimal care and prevention for the future.


Call our office 480-941-0800 to schedule your complimentary one-on-one interview with Dr. Feyrer-Melk today.

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