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Dodging DNA Destiny

Published: January 1, 2009

After reading your articles in The Saturday Evening Post, I felt compelled to send you a question about diastolic dysfunction. I’m interested in knowing if a genetic marker has been identified and if a test is available. I have high blood pressure and a strong paternal family history of heart disease. Otherwise, I’m a relatively healthy 37-year-old female. If it’s genetic, am I doomed to the same fate as those in my family, or are there preventive measures that can be taken to avert one’s own DNA destiny?

No genetic marker of which I am aware has yet been identified. Diastolic heart failure and congestive heart disease are linked to high blood pressure, so control of your BP would seem to be the most important thing you can do. Genetics load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger. Therefore, you can escape the bullet by changing the environment with adequate BP control.

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