Genomic Risk Score to provide early detection of Heart Disease

Coronary Heart Disease is a lethal condition which affects 30 million people in India. Last year there were almost 2,00,000 heart surgeries performed in the country. Traditionally doctors treating Coronary Heart Disease look for certain facts including

  1. Cholesterol Level
  2. High Blood Pressure
  3. Smoking
  4. Diabetes

These 4 factors were the key to identify patients at risk. But these are every broad based and not very effective in identifying patients most at risk for coronary heart disease. As you may know,the symptoms of coronary heart disease, which may include, Chest pain or Angina, Pain in the muscles, joints and shoulders, shortness of breath, indigestion. Most of these symptoms are exaggerated by work or effort and come down with rest. They also sometimes are triggered by emotional outbursts.  Develop much later, the changes within the body start appearing at a much earlier stage. In most cases early detection and intervention is the key to a successful treatment for coronary heart disease.

Now physicians in Leicester University in the UK have come up with a Genome Risk Score. Our genes predetermine conditions like Coronary Heart Disease and mostly small variations on the DNA can dramatically change outcomes. So a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism or SNP can determine the exact risk of developing coronary heart disease. Scientists studies more than 40,000 SNPs to come up with a Genomic Risk Score for Coronary Heart Disease. This when combined with the clinical risk factors stated earlier can help physicians ascertain those in most rick of developing coronary health disease. The higher the Genomic Risk Score the higher the future risk of Coronary Heart Disease. People with a Genomic Risk Score in the top 20 per cent had an over five-fold higher life-time risk of Coronary Heart Disease.

“This study shows the potential benefits of using a genetic risk score over and above current methods to identify people at increased risk of coronary heart disease. We already know that Coronary Heart Disease starts at an early age, several decades before symptoms develop, and preventative measures should ideally be applied much earlier, especially to those who are at increased risk,” said Nilesh Samani, Professor at the University of Leicester, England.

(Source: ToI Article)

Now my intention is to let our readers know that this is an option available. I will continue to check with hospitals in India to determine who have already started using this methodology to screen potential patients for Coronary Heart Disease.

As always comments and suggestions are welcome.

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran

Management Thinker, Marketer, Healthcare Professional Communicator and Ideation exponent

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