Mar 24, 2022 - Health + Traits

What 23andMe can Reveal about Heart Health

Kim Gugliotta, 56, fills her plate with healthy foods like legumes, vegetables, chicken, fish, and tofu. She walks for at least 30 minutes a day. And she’s a regular on the pickleball courts of Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.

But Kim wasn’t always so health-conscious. 

Making the change

Just a few years ago, she would have opted for “steak and cheeseburgers” and would have been tempted to skip her daily walk. But once she received reports from her 23andMe Health + Ancestry test, everything changed.

Kim, a 23andMe+ member, discovered from her reports that she had an increased genetic likelihood of developing coronary artery disease, something she’d not heard before nor expected given that she had no family history of it. A visit to her cardiologist revealed that she had dyslipidemia, an imbalance of lipids that contributes to the development of clogged arteries. She was immediately put on medication and counseled about lifestyle changes.

She considers herself lucky.

“My doctor was able to prescribe me a statin which probably saved me from years of damage to my arteries! And prolonged my life,” Kim said. 

Heart health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women and men in the US, killing more than 600,000 people each year, said Davis Liu, M.D., chief clinical officer and physician for Lemonaid Health. Lifestyle changes, medication, and genetic testing can all be part of a proactive strategy to protect and improve heart health.

“At 23andMe, we have about eight reports* that touch on your heart health in one way or another,” explained Alisa Lehman, Ph.D., a senior product scientist at 23andMe. “In these reports, we can tell you if you have an increased likelihood of developing conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and coronary artery disease. Once you have that information, you can work with your doctor to make a plan to try and prevent or manage those conditions.”

Kim knows firsthand just how important that information can be. 

“This is our health – let’s find out what kind of issues we may or may not have.”

*23andMe health predisposition reports include both reports that meet FDA requirements for genetic health risks and reports which are based on 23andMe research and have not been reviewed by the FDA. The test uses qualitative genotyping to detect select clinically relevant variants in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting genetic health risks. It is not intended to diagnose any disease. Your ethnicity may affect the relevance of each report and how your genetic health risk results are interpreted. Each genetic health risk report describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing a disease, but does not describe a person’s overall risk of developing the disease. The test is not intended to tell you anything about your current state of health, or to be used to make medical decisions, including whether or not you should take a medication, how much of a medication you should take, or determine any treatment. For important information and limitations regarding each genetic health risk report, visit

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