3 ways to celebrate American Heart Month with Helix
When Ötzi the iceman was laid to rest 5,000 years ago, he likely wasn’t aware of his developing heart condition. Though he was an active individual who lived without the temptations of our modern diet, he was still at risk of suffering from heart disease. He’s not the only one, either—mummies have taught us that people have been experiencing heart disease throughout history, and we’re no different. But unlike the people of yesteryear, we have the benefit of knowledge, foresight, and the opportunity to take action.
Thanks to advances in science and technology, we’re getting better at finding and helping people who appear healthy but are at risk of developing heart disease. Some of this progress is driven by the understanding that our health is influenced by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. In honor of American Heart Month—which aims to raise awareness around heart disease and the steps people can take to improve their heart health—we’d like to introduce you to some ways that you can learn more about your heart by way of your DNA.
Heart Start by WellnessFX
As blood is pushed from one part of the body to the other, it brings an assortment of important molecules. Cholesterol is one such molecule. It’s normal (and even healthy) for the blood to carry cholesterol and various types of fats. But, like most things in life, too much of a good thing can be bad. Because of this, it’s important to keep an eye on cholesterol levels as a part of a well-rounded strategy to optimize your wellbeing.
Heart Start from WellnessFX is here to help. With the power of two tests to give you data that makes a difference, this product first analyzes your DNA to see if you’ve inherited specific genetic factors that have been linked to high cholesterol levels. This in itself doesn’t tell you whether you have high cholesterol, but it may help to explain why you might. It’s the blood test—which Heart Start includes at no additional cost—that determines what your cholesterol levels actually are.
This blood test analyzes the levels of various biomarkers, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and other molecules relevant to heart health. From this analysis, Heart Start offers you actionable insights into how you may be able to positively impact your cholesterol levels to maintain them at a healthy level.
Mayo Clinic GeneGuide
While many conditions affecting the heart and blood circulation are the result of environmental contributions, genetic factors can also play a role. For example, venous thromboembolism is a condition in which a person who inherits specific genetic variants has an increased risk of developing a harmful blood clot in a blood vessel. Fortunately, having a genetic variant related to venous thromboembolism doesn’t usually lead to the development of a harmful clot. If you have a genetic variant that increases your risk, you can learn about ways to reduce your risks.
That’s where Mayo Clinic GeneGuide can help. This educational tool gives information about both inherited and environmental factors that may increase chances of developing different health conditions, including venous thromboembolism and what steps can be taken to lower the odds of developing a health complication. When you get your results back and if you have further questions, you can talk to a genetic counselor who can guide you through your results and discuss your next steps.
Inherited Cholesterol Test by Admera Health
Many conversations about heart health start with cholesterol, and understandably so—it can play a big role in heart disease, and we often are able to control our cholesterol levels through changes in our diet or exercise routines. However, there are some instances where a person’s high cholesterol is primarily a result of their genetics. This is the case when someone has familial hypercholesterolemia (FH).
FH is a condition where genetic factors cause dangerously high cholesterol levels which, if left untreated, can result in life-threatening complications. Fortunately, there are ways to significantly reduce a person’s chances of having a problem. The first step is identifying who is likely to have FH. Inherited High Cholesterol by Admera Health analyzes a person’s DNA to determine if they’re likely to have FH. If it’s found that you have inherited a genetic factor linked to FH, you’ll be referred to a medical professional for diagnostic testing. From there, medications and routine examinations can help prevent serious complications.