A recent study confirms what we probably knew already: the tendency to heart disease runs in families. An international study of about 30,000 adults showed that having a parent that had a heart attack in their 40s or younger made it two-and-a-half times more likely that their offspring would have a heart attack. The risk is six times higher if both parents had heart attacks before age 50. (See http://www.everydayhealth.com/heart-health/news/heart-attacks-are-all-in-the-family.aspx for more info on the study.)
While genetics may be a determinant in heart health, the good news is that lifestyle can help to combat the genes you were handed at birth. Regular exercise, good nutrition, lowering stress, and reducing weight can all help to keep your heart working well. A key vital sign to heart health (and stress) is heart rate variability. To download a short PDF explaining HRV and stress, go to http://beathealthy.com/education/stressandhrv.pdf.