Do Diabetes and Heart Disease Run in the Family?


Cardiovascular disorders, like many other genetic factors, can be passed down from family. So if diabetes and heart disease have affected your family, you may be at greater risk, too. But don’t worry—with healthy habits, awareness, and regular check-ups to your professionals at the Cardiovascular Institute of the South, you can help prevent a catastrophic health event. Here's how you can promote a healthier future.

The Difficulties of Genetics

Knowing your family history can be much more important to your health than you may realize. Having an immediate family member, like a sibling or parent, with type 1 diabetes can greatly increase your risk of developing type 1, type 2, or prediabetes. A family history of heart disease can also increase your risk, though environmental factors can pose as much of a risk as genetics do. While you can’t change your genetics, you can notice the warning signs of chronic disease and create a prevention plan.

Having a family member with diabetes or heart disease is not your only genetic risk factor. Other traits, including your ethnicity, may increase your risk as well. For instance, heart disease and type 2 diabetes are most common among African Americans and American Indians. For both diabetes and heart disease, the presence of disease in your family indicates the need for preventative measures. While not every case is preventable, taking steps to increase your health can help you greatly decrease your chances of developing the disease.

Paving the Way for Healthier Futures

No matter if your genetics play a role in your diabetes and heart disease risk or not, you can take the steps now to promote your health. Smoking, eating high fat and cholesterol diets, and having little to no physical activity can lead to heart disease. These lifestyle habits can also increase your chances of developing diabetes. To fight these diseases, begin by altering your lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet. This includes lean proteins like chicken and turkey or fatty-acid-rich fish, as well as whole grains and colorful vegetables. And, make sure to drink around 64 ounces of water each day. 

In addition to your diet, you must incorporate physical activity into your routine. Whether you choose a vigorous home or gym workout or a brisk walk or bike ride through your neighborhood, getting your heart pumping and your muscles moving can benefit the health of your entire body. And, this can help to improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Start slowly, and work your way up to around 150 minutes of activity a week. When paired with a healthy meal plan and abstinence from cigarettes and alcohol, you can greatly decrease your risks of diabetes and heart disease!

Prevent Diabetes and Heart Disease With the Help of Our Specialists

At the Cardiovascular Institute of the South, we offer a wide range of diagnostic testing services to determine the health and function of your heart and lungs. If you have a family history of diabetes and heart disease or if you are noticing issues in your personal health, we can help. With screening, exercise and stress tests, general blood work, and more, we can diagnose a variety of conditions and determine if medication or intervention is needed. We also utilize imaging and ultrasound to spot any blockages or issues with blood flow in the heart, veins, or arteries. 

Request an appointment with us today for start-of-the-art cardiovascular care at your closest clinic location! We are passionate about educating our patients on heart disease risks and prevention methods. And, we can help you to spot warning signs and determine the best methods of treatment. Let us help you prevent diabetes and heart disease and work towards a healthier future!

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CIS Staff

Written by CIS Staff