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By notifying your doctors about any of the following, they can help refer you to a genetic counselor, so you can get a more in-depth look at your heart health:

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• Diseases or conditions that people in your family have, such as blood clots, heart valve disease or irregular heart rhythm • If your parents or grandparents had a stroke or heart attack • If your parents or grandparents have been diagnosed with heart disease, and their age when they were diagnosed • Risk factors in your family, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure Genetics can help doctors try to figure out if there is a connection between your personal medical history and the possibility for a hereditary condition in the family. RAISING AWARENESS

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Inherited heart disease is more common than once thought, which means genetic counseling is more important than ever. Cardiogenetics is helping to provide answers to patients and give them the means necessary to deal with their condition. Testing can allow patients to be aware of their heart health and seek treatment, though genetic counseling doesn’t always necessarily include testing. DeBerg generally sees patients in a couple of different circumstances. A cardiologist may recognize a pattern of heart issues in the family. In these cases, DeBerg’s right there in the clinic to talk to patients that day and discuss with them if the heart issues family members are having might have a genetic component through cardiogenetics. The other most common circumstances leading patients to seek out DeBerg’s expertise begin with relatives. Some do so after a family member has been diagnosed with a heart condition. Others have had relatives undergo testing that revealed a genetic predisposition to a heart condition. n

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