Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

Does early heart disease run in your family?

September 1, 2021

Knowing the details can inform your screening and treatment decisions.

Because heart disease is so prevalent, the odds that one or more of your relatives has some type of heart problem are pretty high. But you should pay special attention if someone in your immediate family — a parent or sibling — had a heart attack or related issue at a relatively young age. Known as premature or early coronary artery disease, this condition refers to a heart attack that occurs before age 55 in a man or before age 65 in a woman.

Caused by fatty plaque that narrows arteries feeding the heart, coronary artery disease is responsible for most heart attacks and is by far the most common type of heart disease. But uncommon genetic conditions also can cause the heart to unexpectedly stop beating, known as cardiac arrest in younger people (see "Heart-stopping conditions that strike at an early age").

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.