Feb 8, 2023 - Health + Traits

Heart Health


Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the nation, and with February being American Heart Month, we want to raise awareness about the condition and ways to better care for your own heart.

Another potential problem is if a piece of this plaque breaks off and either blocks blood flow to the heart, leading to a heart attack, or travels to the brain, leading to a stroke.

While genetics influences the likelihood of developing heart disease, lifestyle — diet, exercise, sleep and stress — often play an outsized role in heart health. While you can’t change your genetics, you can do a lot to protect the health of your heart by changing your lifestyle. Cutting out smoking, lowering cholesterol, exercising more, and eating right can go a long way towards keeping your heart healthy.

A heat map showing the United States and where concentrations are for heart disease and stroke.

Just looking at data from the CDC on where rates of heart disease are the highest illustrates how it unevenly impacts people in the United States. And data suggest that while people of all ethnicities are affected by heart disease, poorer communities and communities of color are among the hardest hit.

Understanding other risk factors, like high blood pressure, or your blood cholesterol levels, or whether you have a family history of heart disease as well as your genetics can also help in understanding your own risk for heart disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has helpful resources in understanding some of those risks.

A table showing what is considered healthy blood pressure 120 over 80, versus elevated, 120-129 over less than 80, and high 130 or higher over 80 or higher.

23andMe reports on several genetic factors that impact heart health both as part of our Health + Ancestry Service and additional in-depth reports that are part of 23andMe+ Membership. Within the Health + Ancestry Service we have several reports related to heart health. Among those are reports that look at conditions associated with coronary heart disease. 23andMe has a genetic health risk report on familial hypercholesterolemia and hereditary amyloidosis. We also have a report powered by 23andMe Research on type 2 diabetes.

For those who want to go a little more in depth, there are reports, powered by 23andMe research, available to 23andMe+ members that look at genetics associated with conditions  such as coronary heart disease, atrial fibrillation, HDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure. In addition, we also have 23andMe+ reports on how your genetics affect your response to anti-clotting drugs used for preventing heart attack.

To learn more go to the CDC’s Heart Disease page.

To learn about 23andMe’s health offerings go here.

Stay in the know.

Receive the latest from your DNA community.