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Heart Month Tip 1: Be a Detective

On February 1, 2012 | At 8:52 am

Find out if anyone in your family has a history of heart disease.

Celebrating Heart Month

Celebrating Heart Month

Family history is one of the risk factors you can’t control, but knowing your risk can help you and your doctor develop a care plan that is right for you.

Enter the Contest!

Are there surprises in your family’s health history? Tell us below for your chance to win a fabulous prize from our Heart Month contest.

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11 Comments for this post

 
February 1st, 2012 at 10:33 am

Sometimes family health histories are overshadowed by certain kinds of death. For example, one of my grandfathers died from a massive stroke; the other died from colon cancer. These were the stories that I heard while growing up. I only recently learned that both grandfathers also suffered from heart disease. It’s important to ask questions about what other health issues might have affected the lives of deceased family members.

 
 
February 1st, 2012 at 11:21 am

Recently my aunt died. Talking over with family members about how other family members had died I found out that my grandfather had died of a heart attack. Something I never knew before. Might be good to ask these questions sooner rather than later.

 
 
February 1st, 2012 at 11:49 am

Another example, this time looking at younger relatives. Several summers ago my nephew died in his 40s of a heart attack. I felt I should be checked out and I asked my GP to do an EKG. That led to other tests and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure. Our two adult children then got EKGs and some follow-up tests showed valve issues, in our son’s case, serious. None of us had any symptoms and had these conditions not been caught in the early stages I shudder to think what the result could have been. No one wants to get bad news but bad news early can often turn into good news–or at least okay news. There is so much that can be done for heart patients and UVa has a superb cardiology department.

 
 
February 1st, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I agree that certain illnesses can capture the attention of the family, leaving other important information and history by the wayside. I think family history is also hard to establish or remember with the creative and myriad family structures that our culture is beginning to embrace. I always make the mistake of considering my father’s medical history as my own, only to remember that I was adopted! Medical history is vital, even if it involves an emotional tromp through your past.

 
 
February 1st, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I have a strong family history of heart disease. When I turned 40, I really began to worry about my risk factors. I decided to have a coronary calcium scoring to give me some peace of mind. The test showed that I have no early build-up of plaque, so I feel like a can breathe a little easier now. But I know I always need to be vigilant about my heart health no matter what.

 
 
February 1st, 2012 at 9:36 pm

There is diabetes in my family-my mother and her mother. Many people are unaware of the devastating effects of diabetes on many body systems, including the cardiovascular system. Weight control is so important for diabetes and cardiovascular risks. My concern is that people think they need to be concerned about one or the other and fail to see the relationship between diabetes and heart disease. I look forward to continuing to learn through Club Red offerings.

 
 
February 2nd, 2012 at 11:22 am

I, too, have a maternal family history of diabetes. Seeing my mother struggle with the effects of not following doctors’ advice and expecting medication to take care of everything is a big motivator for me to eat healthy and get more exercise. I appreciate Club Red’s nutrition and movement tips as part of their program.

 
 
February 3rd, 2012 at 9:53 am

I definitely have a family history of heart disease. My mother’s father died at age 59 of a massive heart attack and 4-5 of his son’s have already had bypass surgery. My father’s brother died from heart disease. So I definitely pay attention to any symtoms I have that may be pointing to heart disease. Very distressing!

 
 
February 16th, 2012 at 9:18 am

My mother’s family is shadowed by heart disease. Heart attacks claimed several of my maternal uncles, and my maternal aunt had a heart attack while mountain climbing. (She survived, and is alive and well at 90+.) My husband has outlived both his grandfathers; I think “heart healthy” for him, as well.

 
 
February 16th, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I knew my mother had a heart attack. What I didn’t know was the seriousness of her continued heart disease. She always told us her heart was fine, strong, better than ever. It was a shock to hear her doctor talk about “congestive heart failure.” I guess she needed to stay in denial for some reason.

 
 
February 28th, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I was a healthy 57 year old female that found myself in an ER complaining of vague symptoms. A very astute young resident asked if there was a history of heart disease in my family. After sharing that my father had indeed died from heart disease he decided to keep me and to send me for a stress test the next day. It was discovered that I had an 80% blockage in my LAD. The ONLY risk factor I had was family history!

 

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