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British Heart Foundation
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Worried about my children after husbands heart attack

Hi all I’m just looking for some advice , my husband had a heart attack in jan 2018 at the age of 36 , he is well now and is controlled with many meds , we found out that it runs in the family as his dad had a heart attack at the age of 48, I am so worried about my children especially my 9year old son , I don’t know what to do , can I ask for tests to see if they have narrow arteries like there father and grandfather? I can’t stop worrying that it will happen to them

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First of all, worrying never solved anything so try to stop it. Try to think clearly.

You could ask your GP for advice on testing the children and you could minimize the risk to them by giving them a healthy diet and making sure they keep fit.

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There are some hereditary conditions that can be tested for. If they can't be tested for, your children can be monitored throughout their lives so that any issues can be detected early. My condition isn't known to be hereditary, but my daughter gets a heart scan every five years to make sure she's OK, which is great reassurance. I would speak to your GP about arranging a genetic-testing consultation for your husband. They will talk through the family history and let you know the best course of action, doing genetic testing (by blood samples) if appropriate, offering long-term monitoring if not. That was my experience, anyway. Good luck and hop you get some reassurance soon x

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I agree worrying does not solve any problem and never will but I do understand its hard not to worry especially when you have young kids involved.

What I have learnt from my experience, similar to your husband, worry does not help but acceptance of the condition and lifestyle management does help. I have accepted that I have a condition and I have to manage that best to my abilities. We are fortunate that we have wonderful medical facilities available and advancements in the meds are helping us to manage our condition much better, its not all gloom anymore.

If you have time, then please do read some of my old post so hopefully you can see that despite having a condition, we can still manage our dreams.

Hope this helps.

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Hi Amy. I am a 67 yo man and I had a heart attack 6 weeks ago and had a stent installed. Because my father died of a stroke the cardio was concerned that it could be inherited and advised me to get my brothers and sons to get there cholesterol levels checked. All my brothers are on statins and being monitored and my sons both said there cholesterol levels are below the limit. So my advice would be talk to your GP. I hope it all works out for you and the family.

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I must appreciate that you are a pioneer and much ahead all mothers in the world . 9 years would be too early . You may try LP(a) test when your child grows 22/23 years . Before that watch out simple symptoms eg breathlessness,pain etc

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Hi Amy,

You are doing absolutely the right thing by asking this question. It sounds like you have a real drive to keep the whole family well and to move forward with awareness. Remain curious and ask your husband's cardiologist at the next visit. They CAN check cholesterol in children but most likely it will be normal at this age unless they are overweight.

We have a similar family history and my son is 5. So we have switched our whole family's diet to the most healthful diet outlined in the How Not To Die book published last year by Dr Michael Gregor. See nutritionfacts.org also for prevention of coronary heart disease.

Genetics loads the gun, then lifestyle pulls the trigger.

I also recommend the book How to Disease-Proof Your Child by Dr Joel Fuhrman. He also has a book from last year called The End of Heart Disease.

The good news is your husband knows now and you can as a family live the healthiest lives possible by addressing factors that most people without coronary heart disease aren't motivated to change because they feel well. You have awareness now and that really matters.

In the future I am hoping they will screen kids/ young adults earlier if they have a family history. (We can keep asking every few years if new early screening tests have been developed). For now we as their parents need to instill excellent lifestyle habits and give them an informed response when they ask why they aren't eating pizza/chips/crisps any longer. (Evidence shows Coronary disease starts very early in childhood). Do read the books and browse the websites. It will take time to transition the diet.

So your drive as a mother (mine too) is to protect your child and you can do this.

The other good news is that if adhered to, this new healthful diet will naturally lower your husband's cholesterol, effectively slashing the risk of progression of his heart disease. And you will lower your own risks of chronic illness developing. Win-win-win!

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