At the heart of many cardiovascular conditions are the genes handed down via your family tree. Maybe your enlarged heart came from your mother’s side. Or, your great-grandfather had irregular heartbeats just like you do. While you can’t change your family’s genetic history, you may be able to reduce your chances of stroke or sudden death through personalized medicine and the integration of cardiovascular genomic information. Our medical genetics team, for example, offers screening and genetic testing for a broad range of cardiac conditions from cardiomyopathy to Long QT syndrome.
At NorthShore, we have particular expertise in diagnosing and treating patients at risk for genetically-driven atherosclerosis, or blocked arteries. Hardening of the arteries, commonly due to high cholesterol, inflammation or blood clotting-related problems, is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease. Using a wide array of genetic biomarkers, our team can better understand why your unique genetic makeup leads you to:
- Overproduce bad LDLs
- Respond better to diet and lifestyle modifications vs. medication
- Develop blocked arteries even with low cholesterol
Your genes not only tell us the “why” but also give us the “how” to customize your cardiac care. In some individuals, for instance, what’s in your blood may dictate whether you receive any cardiac health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Pharmacogenomics can also help guide which drugs (statins) or what dosages work best with your genetic profile.
NorthShore offers a distinct advantage in our personalized medicine efforts to enhance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of atherosclerosis. Our program is headed by a certified lipidologist—one of a few physicians with this specialized training serving the NorthShore community. This expert has the cholesterol management and cardiovascular risk assessment knowledge to accurately translate your genomic information into highly individualized care.
For more information on personalized cardiology care, cardiovascular genomics or to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist, please call 847.444.5300.