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Coronary Artery Disease, Genetic Testing

Coronary artery disease occurs when the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle narrow or obstruct, reducing blood and oxygen flow to the heart. This can lead to chest pain (angina) or a heart attack. Management includes lifestyle changes, medications, and, in some cases, procedures such as angioplasty or bypass surgery. The assessment of the Polygenic Risk Score for coronary artery disease is based on examining 176 gene polymorphisms.

Genetic testing for coronary artery disease is included along with 14 other diseases in the Genetic Screening for Cardiovascular and Respiratory Diseases, Polygenic Risk Score.

Causes and non-genetic risk factors

Coronary heart disease is responsible for up to one-third of deaths in people over 40 years of age in developed countries. Furthermore, it is estimated that half of men and one-third of women will suffer some manifestation of heart disease in these regions during their lifetime. It is, therefore, a major global health problem.

In addition to genetic risk factors, whose contribution appears necessary, there are also non-genetic risk factors that can markedly increase the likelihood of coronary artery disease. Among them:

  • Aging increases the risk of damage to the arteries.
  • Due to the protective factor of estrogens, men are more at risk of heart disease than women. However, after menopause, the risk is equalized.
  • Smoking and passive exposure to tobacco smoke.
  • Uncontrolled arterial hypertension.
  • High blood cholesterol levels. Hypercholesterolemia can lead to the formation of atheroma plaques in the blood vessels, which in turn narrow them.
  • Diabetes.
  • Overweight and obesity.
  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • Stress.
  • Unhealthy diet. High consumption of saturated fats and sugar can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

In addition, to a lesser extent, other risk factors, such as having an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, can increase the risk of atherosclerosis.


It is a heterogeneous condition whose symptoms vary from person to person, ranging from no symptoms at all to severe, life-threatening symptoms.

Most commonly, in the early stages, narrowing of the arteries due to the presence of atheromatous plaques does not cause any symptoms. However, as plaque continues to build up, the following signs and symptoms may occur:

Sharp chest pain, known as "angina," is a sudden pain that usually occurs in the middle or left side of the chest. It may feel like tightness. It may be triggered by physical or emotional stress and usually disappears within minutes.

Shortness of breath. If the heart cannot pump blood efficiently enough, shortness of breath or fatigue may develop.

Heart attack. This is the most severe sign caused by a coronary artery in which blood flow is completely interrupted. In this case, one is expected to feel severe tightness in the chest, pain in the shoulder or arm, shortness of breath, and sweating.


Because of the critical contribution of environmental factors in the development of coronary heart disease, some actions can be taken to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease effectively. Among them:

  • Blood pressure control.
  • Keep cholesterol and triglyceride levels low.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Healthy diet, avoiding consuming ultra-processed foods rich in fats and sugars.
  • Regular physical exercise.
  • Avoiding tobacco smoke.
  • Stress control.
  • Controlling blood sugar levels and keeping diabetes under control, if present.
Additional information
Results Time4 - 5 Weeks
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