In this health video you will learn whether heart attacks hereditary or not.
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Raena Morgan: Are heart attacks hereditary? Dr. Owen Thompson: They tend to be, but not everybody. Somebody is the first in every family to do at everything, but, they very much tend to be, and researches has shown that in the population in America as a whole, about a third of people are at very high risk for cardiovascular events, heart attack, stroke. Raena Morgan: A third? Dr. Owen Thompson: One third. About one third have almost no risk at all. Then, the middle third is moderate I would say. Now if you win the genetic lottery and you come in with very low risk, that doesn't guarantee you that if you go through life and ignore everything that you're going to not have problems, you still need to kind of pay attention to your body, and try to keep your weight down, and be active and pay attention to your blood pressure, and those things. But there are individuals, about 30 to 33% of people who seem almost to be immune to cardiovascular events. Obviously, a lot of people are doing a lot of studies on those individuals to find out why are they different, but it does seem to be, a lot of it seems to be their DNA, their genetics. There are centers now at some major universities. The University of Minnesota has one called the Rasmussen Center where they screen people and do a wide variety of tests, and they try to sit down with you after the tests, and after you've filled out a questionnaire, and tell you are you in the good third, the bad third or in the middle. It really can be a very important thing for you to know. So I think we as individuals can all go to a major center like that. It is very important for us to take inventory of our ancestors, our parents, our siblings, our grandparents and aunts and uncles. If there is a lot of heart disease and stroke and vascular disease in your family, you are at higher risk than the norm. If there's not much at all, good for you, but you still need to take good care of yourself. Raena Morgan: The people in the middle third, they just have to pay attention to lifestyle and take inventory, as you say? Dr. Owen Thompson: Right. I think the people in the middle third, and definitely the people in the top third or the bottom third or if you look at the high risk third, really need to pay attention to the risk factors. They need to be pretty conscientious about checking their blood pressure and their cholesterol, exercise, diet, nutrition and look at what supplements they want to take. If they have prescription medications, make sure they take them and really pay a lot of attention to that. And educate themselves about what they can do nutritionally, through exercise, and if needed, prescription medications to lower their risk. Obviously, we can't change our genetic profile. Some of us would like to get rid of some of our family if we could, but we can't change that as yet. But the day may come when that will be something that may be available to us. But if you're in that high risk, or in moderate risk group, you really need to do risk factor control. Raena Morgan: Risk factor control. Dr. Owen Thompson: Correct. Raena Morgan: Thank you Dr. Thompson.