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Family History of Heart Attack Can Be Deadly Serious

History of Heart Attacks In FamilyIt has been fairly common knowledge for years now that a family history of heart problems can lead to a significant increase in risk for a person to inherit such health issues themselves. Unfortunately, some people don’t take a family history of heart attack or heart disease seriously enough.

Charles McCauley Jr. was cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field when he got a phone call that his father, Charles McCauley Sr., had suffered a heart attack while watching the same game in his home. Charles Jr. immediately left the game to go to his 83-year-old father’s home. On the way, though, Charles Jr. began feeling chest pains and had to pull over and call an ambulance. The 54-year-old Charles Jr. was also having a heart attack, and he died just an hour after his father. This story was so shocking that it was reported nationally.

This tragedy is a harsh reminder that heart conditions are only amplified when family members share the same traits. Having an immediate family member (parent or sibling) who had a heart attack can increase your risk 33-50%, especially if the family member was under age 55 when they had the attack.

If you have a family history of heart disease, heart attack or other cardiac conditions like high blood pressure, take the following steps to ensure you decrease any risk of future issues:

  • Make sure your cardiologist is aware of your family history. As simple as it may be, alerting your physician to conditions of your family members can ensure that all necessary preventative measures are taken.
  • Manage and reduce stress in your everyday life. Stress in small doses is normal and even necessary; however, prolonged, intense stress takes a physical toll on your body, starting with your heart.
  • Give up all those vices you’ve been meaning to stop anyway. Heavy drinking and smoking have a direct link to heart conditions, and quitting altogether can help your heart begin rebuilding and strengthening itself again almost immediately.
  • Overhaul your diet to include heart-healthy foods. Since scientists have proven that even indulgences like wine and chocolate can have a positive effect on heart health, there’s no reason not to be conscious of what you are eating.
  • When you are at a higher risk for heart attack, it is even more essential than ever to maintain your overall health. This includes keeping your weight in check and visiting a cardiologist for regular preventative care. Depending on your risk factors, a cardiologist may recommend you begin getting annual blood and screening tests as early as age 25.
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