Pathway Genomics Genetic Health Report helps make more informed health and lifestyle decisions

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You may not suffer from any form of heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, but you could have a predisposition for these conditions based on more than just your lifestyle or diet. A family history of diabetes, gout, high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol can increase one’s risk regardless of lifestyle. Race is also a factor. African Americans, for example, have elevated risk of developing high blood pressure, which increases their chance of developing heart disease and stroke. However, neither lifestyle, family history, nor race represent a guarantee that you will or will not be afflicted.

“Am I at risk for heart disease?”

According to genetic research, a number of genes are associated with heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. In 2009, in one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers associated with the Myocardial Infarction Genetics Consortium uncovered nine genetic variants or mutations associated with the risk of early heart attack; including three that had not been previously identified. Research also shows that genes play a major role in determining how you might react to medications that are commonly used to treat heart-related conditions.

For example, it’s been found that approximately 30% of the nearly five million patients taking Plavix (a medication prescribed to enhance blood flow through the heart, particularly after the placement of one or more cardiac stents) do not metabolize the medication correctly because of genetic variations in their liver enzymes—putting them at a about a 50% higher risk of heart attack or other cardiac issues, such as stroke. People with the variant in the CYP2C19 gene (an occurrence found in about 30% of Caucasians and blacks, 20% of Hispanics, and up to 60% of Asians) had an approximate 32.4% reduction in effective plasma concentrations of Plavix and, as a result, were 3.6 times more likely to suffer heart attacks or other cardiac issues while taking the medication.

Studies on heart patients consistently have shown that poor metabolizers of Plavix might as well be taking a sugar pill than the standard Plavix dose, because their risk of heart attack and stroke is much higher than that of other Plavix users. However, most users don't know they are at risk, because they haven't been tested for the presence of the genetic variants causing decreased metabolism of Plavix.

What you can learn

Today, Pathway Genomics (www.PATHWAY.com) is making it easy and affordable for consumers to order a genetic health report and learn about their predisposition for diseases including heart disease, and prescription medication responses including Plavix. With a Pathway Genomics Genetic Health Report, people can also gain information about many other health conditions to make more informed health and lifestyle decisions. Even if you know the full story on your family’s health history, a personal genetic health report can help you assess your propensity to develop disease and recommend proactive steps to enhance your well-being.

Genetic testing and reporting completed by Pathway Genomics is a quick, simple, and convenient process, providing comprehensive, easy-to-read, action-oriented information, along with one-on-one genetic counseling for those who would like additional interpretation of their genetic reports or have questions.

If you’re still asking yourself, “Am I at risk for heart disease?” visit Pathway Genomics’ blog, DNAction: Your Pathway to Human Genomics (blog.Pathway.com) to read the full article on heart disease.

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