Family Medical History Key to Heart Attack Prevention

Recently, I interviewed Gloria, a vibrant former soldier and athlete who, at 40, is busy training to run in the Disney Princess Half Marathon. She is slender and fit, and, by looking at her, it is impossible to tell that she underwent coronary bypass surgery three years ago to avoid a potentially fatal heart attack, but that is indeed the case.

In fact, the cardiologist, who she went to see because of her concerns, laughed at her. But, thankfully, he also took her seriously, even though he was surprised when her test results showed she did have severe coronary heart disease. 

What Gloria and her doctor didn't realize at the time was that, although she looked slender and fit, nearly all the women in her family had developed heart disease at an unusually young age.

Family Medical History Tips:

•Both your relatives on your father's side and your mother's side count

•Divide your relatives into first-degree (parents and siblings), second-degree (grandparents, aunts and uncles) and third degree relatives (cousins).

•Generally, first-degree relatives count most.  Pay attention to age. Generally, the earlier a disease occurs, the more likely it is that it is hereditary, which means that you may have inherited an increased possibility of developing it. This is true not only for heart disease, but also for many forms of cancer as well.

Doing Your Family Medical History is part of the “Don’t Die of What Your Parent’s Died Of,” workshop I do.

For information on how I can bring this life-saving workshop to your organization, contact me at