Is Genetic Testing for Heart Disease Beneficial in Women?

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a blood test that could accurately predict a woman’s risk for a heart attack. We know that heart disease has a strong hereditary component and genetic testing has been shown to be able to identify people at an increased risk for some diseases. Studies has demonstrated that an abnormality on chromosome 9 increases a persons risk for a heart attack and stroke.  Commercial blood tests are available for this type of screening but are they really beneficial?

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that this genetic test did not help predict heart disease risk any better than the traditional risk factor screening (blood pressure, cholesterol testing, testing for diabetes, CRP – a blood test for inflammation, family history evaluation) in women.  Further studies are needed before routine genetic screening can be recommended.  At this point in time the best way to prevent heart disease is to know your risk factors and learn how to modify them.

“Know Your Numbers”

Goal BP less than 120/80

Goal Total Cholesterol less than 200 mg/dl

If your Cholesterol level is elevated you may want to discuss having a blood test to measure CRP with your health care provider.

Goal Fasting Blood Sugar less than 100 mg/dl

Brand New Book “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” will be available Feb 2009 and discusses women’s risk factors and how to develop heart healthy lifestyles to decrease your risk for heart disease.  For more information visit http://www.heart-strong.com/Bookstore.html

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