Vascular Surgeon Questions Heart blockages

My family has a history of cardiac issues, and I'm worried. Is it likely that I will develop issues in the future?

My dad is 74 years old and recently had a bypass surgery for 3 major blockages. My family has a history of major cardiac issues, and this surgery has me seriously worried for my own well-being. I'm pretty healthy now though, but is it likely for me to have issues in the future?

5 Answers

There are many risk factors for coronary artery disease (which is what your father had if he needed coronary artery bypass grafting). Although it is true that a family history of this increases your risk for it, given that your father is 74 years old is a positive! If he didn't have any heart attacks before the age of 60 your risk is not that much greater with just this one factor. Other equally important risk factors are more under your control and these are the ones you and your health care provider should try your best to minimize. Smoking, high cholesterol more specifically high LDL (bad cholesterol) and low HDL (good cholesterol) levels, high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, diabetes, and high stress are all "controllable" risk factors. YOU can quit smoking, talk with your health care provider about your numbers (your blood pressure and LDL and HDL levels and even your glucose levels), walk 30 minutes a day every day, and breathe deeply more frequently and decrease your risk of cardiac disease. Talk to your health care provider about your concern and make him/her a partner on your quest to a healthier heart!

KathyLee Santangelo, MD
Unfortunately a family history of heart disease Can not be ignored. Yes, no matter how healthy a lifestyle you live, your risk of heart disease is greater than the average person. It would be wise for you to have a cardiologist to monitor you, even if you have no symptoms
Be sure you don't smoke as this is the primary risk factor for heart disease. Sadly we can't change our genetics but we can change our lifestyles- cholesterol, diet, exercise, tobacco use.
The answer is yes, artery disease is somewhat hereditary, but environmental factors, smoking, obesity, diabetes, and diet add to the risk. If you have a strong family Hx or any of the above factors, see a heart doctor in your 50's. But can decrease risk somewhat with daily aspirin and decreasing cholesterol.
See your primary care doctor. Eat a plant based diet. See a cardiologist, if you can, mostly to have your cholesterol aggressively managed. Avoid being heavy. Exercise frequently.