Harvard Heart Letter

When to seek genetic testing for heart disease

A number of heart diseases are caused by dominant genes, meaning first-degree relatives of a person with the disease have a 50% chance of carrying the disease gene. When one of these diseases occurs in a family, the relative with the most severe manifestation of the disease should undergo comprehensive genetic testing. If a disease-causing gene is found, other family members should consider genetic testing to learn whether they carry the gene. Those who do may need to make lifestyle changes, seek frequent testing, and possibly consider medication.
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