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Genetic Tests For Heart Health: Know Your Risk Of Heart Disease

Genetic Tests For Heart Health: Know Your Risk Of Heart Disease

Regular health check-up, including tests such as an echocardiogram, is suggested for anyone above 35 years.

Written by Tavishi Dogra |Published : January 17, 2023 1:04 PM IST

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) have become much more prevalent in recent years. In India, 63% of deaths are due to non-communicable conditions (NCDs), of which 27% were attributed to CVDs. Notably, 45% of deaths in the 40-to-69-year age group are expected to be cardiovascular diseases, highlighting the general misconception that heart diseases only affect the elderly or occur after a certain age. Therefore, Dr Ramesh Menon, Associate Director of Genomic Medicine and Personal Genomics at MedGenome Labs,says that one must know that appearing healthy from the looks does not assure good health.

Genetic Risk Of Heart Disease

  • The basis of India's high heart disease burden maps to familial disease history, food habits, lifestyle and exposure to disease-causing agents. In addition, the disease burden may be connected to the genetic predisposition to other risk factors and comorbidities, such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, contributing significantly to the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Monogenic mutations are rare but mainly contribute to inherited heart conditions. The polygenic form of genetic risk is often seen in coronary artery disease (CAD), where plaque deposit/inflammation happens in one or more coronary arteries, which blocks the oxygenated blood supply to the heart that often leads to a heart attack.

Medical Diagnosis

Regular health check-up, including tests such as an echocardiogram, is suggested for anyone above 35 years. However, genetic screening to detect the risk of developing diseases such as coronary artery disease such as polygenic risk score test provides an excellent, one-time test to assess the overall genetic risk for developing CAD. This way, one can plan future health and control lifestyle variables at a young age with potentially life-changing events.

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Prevention Is The Key

  • People with a family history of CAD or familial hypercholesterolemia or any of the symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, like hypertension, diabetes, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, and stressful lifestyle, and individuals of 35+ years with comorbidities should consider genetic testing.
  • Cardio-genetics has emerged as a common cardiac disease with a genetic component to empower the younger population with the knowledge to manage these diseases. In addition, genetic testing is a boon in the clinical management of inherited cardiovascular diseases.
  • An NGS (Next Generation Sequencing)-based genetic test is a high-throughput, dependable diagnostic tool that provides a medical expert with accurate case details, aids in early disease detection, and thus improves overall survival while lowering treatment costs.