There are many different types of heart conditions, each with specific symptoms. The following are a few key signs that indicate a cardiovascular work-up may be necessary:
- Chest pain or discomfort;
- Heart palpitations;
- Light-headedness or dizziness;
- Lethargy or daytime sleepiness; and
- Shortness of breath.
Symptoms like these can be indicative of conditions such as arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, heart attack, heart valve disease or cardiomyopathy.
Prevention of Heart Disease
Lifestyle factors play a large role in staying heart-healthy. Maintaining a good body weight, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and ensuring that nutritional needs are being met are all crucial to cardiovascular wellness. Refraining from smoking tobacco is also a very important factor.
Yet, even with patients who live a very healthy lifestyle, genetic factors come into play. As with most major health issues, some people are more susceptible to certain conditions due to their family history. Until recently, it was believed that nothing could be done about the role that genetics plays in heart disease.
Nutrigenomics and Wellness
Thanks to our ever-advancing knowledge about the link between genetics, nutrition and wellness, new technologies are being developed to help us address major health issues such as heart disease. A simple cheek swab can provide DNA information that will help individuals learn which medical conditions they are susceptible to and the steps they must take to prevent them.
Scientists have discovered that genes depend on nutrition to support proper function. Nutritional supplements can influence the genes that you inherited from your parents, either by boosting their abilities or by effectively turning them off. If you know which of your genes may need extra nutrition in order to perform at an optimal level, you may be able to avoid developing age-related conditions, including heart disease.
A Personalized Program of Supplementation
The mapping of the human genome has provided scientists with a vast amount of knowledge concerning genetic diseases. Every day, new and exciting discoveries are being made. Nutrigenomics tends to focus on the areas that will have the greatest impact on an individual's health, which of course includes cardiovascular health. Genes that respond well to supplementation include those responsible for such activities as forming LDL cholesterol, preventing plaque from building up on artery walls, regulating blood pressure and keeping homocysteine in check in order to maintain heart health.
If a DNA test reveals that genes responsible for any or all of these activities are deficient, nutritional supplements can be used to help boost their performance. Nutrigenomics companies can determine not only which genes need extra nutrients, but also at what level they need to be supplemented. Small variants in the gene are what cause genes to function below their optimal levels. People with one variant on a given gene need added nutrients, while people with two variants on a given gene must receive maximum nutritional support.
If you are concerned about heart health due to your family history, cutting-edge DNA science may be able to help by locating deficiencies and strengthening critical genetic functions, possibly adding years to your life.