Every year in the United States, over 650,000 people will die from heart disease. It is also considered a major cause of disabilities. If you have a family history of heart disease, the chances of developing the disease yourself have just increased.

Since different types of heart disease and conditions can run in families, knowing your health history of heart disease is one of the steps you can take to help prevent it. A person’s medical history plays an important role in determining the pattern of heart disease and conditions, and their risk level. Based on the information you provide to a heart specialist, they can assist with recommendations of treatment.

Ways to Learn about Your Family Health History

  • Talk with family members from parents, siblings, children, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. Get a complete medical history from both the mother’s and father’s sides.
  • If you are unable to retrieve medical information from family members, check public records or newspapers. This can help the list of relatives who have had heart disease and conditions, or procedures, be as close to accurate as possible. Include the age family members were diagnosed and treated for the disease.
  • Keep your family’s health history updated regularly in a paper file or on your computer. Also inform your heart specialist of any new diagnosis, conditions, or procedures with family members to aid in assessing your health risks.

A person’s medical history is defined as a record of health information gathered from three generations of close relatives. Both heart disease and the risk factors for heart disease are strongly linked to family history. Collecting your family’s medical background can help you to learn more about your risk of heart disease as well as other inherited diseases and conditions.

6 Types of Heart Diseases

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD). This happens when the coronary arteries struggle to supply the heart with enough blood, oxygen, and nutrients. It is caused by conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, and smoking.
  • Cardiomyopathy. A disease of the heart muscle that can be caused by hypertension, heart attack, alcoholism, drug abuse, or arrhythmia.
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF). This is a chronic progressive condition that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood well enough to meet your body’s needs. If left untreated, CHF can be life-threatening.
  • Arrhythmias (AFib). This is when the heart beats too fast, too slow, or in an irregular way.
  • Congenital heart defects (CHD). This is when one or more problems with the heart’s structure is presented at birth. This disease can vary from mild to severe.
  • Vascular disease (blood vessel disease). This disease does not usually show symptoms until it has caused significant permanent damage.

While a family’s medical history provides important information about the risk of specific health concerns, having a relative with a disease or condition does not mean that an individual will develop it too. What this means is that you are more likely to inherit them.

Read also: Are You at Risk for Heart Disease?

Disease is not imminent. Your health can be managed by making simple lifestyle changes. If you want to start living a healthier life, check out Life’s Simple 7 which was designed by the America Heart Association, or AHA, to improve heart health by educating the public.

You can take an interactive online assessment called My Life Check by clicking here. This tool can help people assess and track their health information to gain a better understanding of their risk of heart disease and stroke. And it only takes about seven minutes.

The 7 Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Heart Disease

  • Manage blood pressure. Keeping blood pressure at a healthy range reduces the strain on the heart, arteries, and kidneys.
  • Control Cholesterol. Keeping your cholesterol under control can give your arteries a better chance to remain clear of blockages.
  • Lower blood sugar. Reducing blood sugar can lessen the risk of damaging the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
  • Start moving. An active life increases the length and quality of life. This is the best gift you can give yourself.
  • Healthy diet. Eating a heart-healthy diet is the best weapon against cardiovascular disease and will improve your chances of staying healthy for life.
  • Lose weight. Shedding unnecessary pounds will reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and skeleton. It can also lower your blood pressure as well as help you to feel better.
  • Stop smoking. Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This means quitting is the best thing you can do for your heart health.

If you are concerned about your family history of heart disease, it is vital that you speak with Dr. Corwin A. Thomas, the heart specialist in Lafayette, LA, at CT Cardio. Dr. Thomas and the dependable, compassionate staff can help to guide you through understanding better cardiovascular disease and associated conditions.

Dr. Thomas has serviced the Acadiana area for more than two decades providing top-notch quality care to all his patients. To schedule an appointment with us by phone, call 337-234-3163 today or you can do so here. Your heart matters the most so let Dr. Thomas and the team take good care of it. You can’t beat having a healthy heart.


My Heart Disease Team



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Heart Foundation