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How To Avoid Heart Disease—Even If It Runs In Your Family

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women, according to the CDC. It is therefore not surprising that each week, experts publish new research linking a behavior or environmental factor to heart disease.

Recent studies have established a link between noise exposure and influenza viruses. And last week, a new study found that taking omega-3 supplements does not protect people with heart disease – a finding that contradicts previous research.

Faced with so much confusing and conflicting information, it can be difficult for health-conscious people to determine which factors and behaviors actually reduce their risk of heart disease. Making the right choices may seem like a struggle.

"First and foremost, it is essential to be aware of family risks and a history of heart disease, especially early heart disease," says Laurence Sperling, MD, professor of medicine. and Director of Emory University's Center for Heart Disease Prevention

PLUS: The 25 Best Foods for Your Heart

Though Heart Disease is So Common That They hit every family, cases of heart disease occur According to Sperling, a child under 50 in men or 60 in women may indicate a genetic predisposition underlying heart problems: "For most people, Heart disease risk comes from a mix of genes and the environment. and behavior, "he explains. "But some people get a very high dose of risk from their genes."

PLUS: 6 Conditions That Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease

If you know your parents, grandparents, or loved ones have suffered heart disease at a young age, your doctor must know. He or she can order specific gene or blood tests that may reveal that you have a high risk of heart problems. In some cases, a very healthy lifestyle may not be enough to protect your heart. "These people may need drugs – a daily aspirin or statins – to reduce their risk," says Sperling.

PLUS: 7 Heart Tests That Could Save Your Life

So, First Step If You Are Concerned About Heart Disease: Know Your Family History and Tell Your Doctor If You Have Parents Who Have had heart problems at a young age.

Assuming you took this precaution, what else can you do to lower your risk? A lot. A large-scale study conducted in 2016 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that even in patients with a high hereditary risk of heart disease, good lifestyle choices could reduce this risk by approximately 50%

. Here are six tips supported by substantial and consistent scientific evidence.

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