One of the risk factors for heart disease is genetics. And we know from traditional studies that have followed patients long-term that family history of heart disease is a big risk factor for developing heart disease. And having good genes is protective and having bad genes is potentially harmful. But even if you have bad genes, it's basically that you have a gun. Unless you pull that trigger, which is your lifestyle, the trigger is the lifestyle, you're unlikely to suffer bad consequences in general. So I tell people that even if you have bad family history, you have to do the things that keep you from pulling the trigger and you have to do things that protect you. So for example, if you have a strong family history of heart disease, you can't change that. But if you smoke, you can definitely stop that. If you don't exercise, you can definitely start exercising. If you don't eat healthy, you can definitely change your diet and obviously getting adequate sleep. And you know, other stress reduction measures are going to help you in the longterm. But it's really important for patients to realize that the genetics are not modifiable, but the environment is and work on the environment, work on the things that you can make a difference about.
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