Scientists find new genes linked to heart disease risk

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We often hear about the importance of heart rate when talking about health. Whether you’re at the doctor’s office or using a fitness tracker, you’ve probably noted your heart rate at some point.

According to the American Heart Association, a normal adult’s resting heart rate should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute. A rate higher than this range could indicate a greater risk for heart-related issues.

A new study has delved deep into the genetics behind our resting heart rates and discovered interesting connections to heart health.

The Largest Heart Rate Study to Date

Researchers recently conducted the biggest study of its kind, examining the genetic factors that influence our resting heart rate.

The study analyzed data from more than 835,000 participants and looked at 100 different genetic studies to understand better what makes our hearts tick—literally.

“Marilyn Cornelis, an associate professor and co-author of the study, said, “This research not only adds to the list of genes linked to heart rate but also shows strong connections between heart rate and overall heart health.”

What the Researchers Found

The team found a whopping 493 genetic variants, located in 352 different places in our DNA, that are related to resting heart rate.

Interestingly, 68 of these were completely new discoveries, meaning scientists didn’t know they were linked to heart rate before.

These newly identified variants were primarily found in heart tissues, particularly in the muscle cells that help the heart pump blood.

The study also found something else that’s pretty intriguing. People with a genetically higher resting heart rate had an increased risk for a condition called “dilated cardiomyopathy,” where the heart’s main pumping chamber becomes weakened.

However, they had a lower risk for other heart issues like abnormal heartbeats and certain types of strokes.

So, What Does All This Mean for You?

While the study didn’t find that a higher resting heart rate directly leads to a higher risk of dying, it did establish some interesting connections between genetics, resting heart rate, and heart health.

This new understanding could change how doctors treat patients with heart-related issues. In the future, you might even get personalized medical advice based on your unique genetic makeup.

These findings are another step toward personalized medicine. The more we know about our genetic makeup, the better doctors can tailor treatments to each person’s individual needs.

Whether it’s through lifestyle adjustments or medication, this information can help guide more effective and personalized healthcare strategies for heart health.

If you care about heart health, please read studies that vitamin K helps cut heart disease risk by a third, and a year of exercise reversed worrisome heart failure.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about supplements that could help prevent heart disease, stroke, and results showing this food ingredient may strongly increase heart disease death risk.

The research findings can be found in Nature Communications.

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