If you have ever heard someone say "heart disease runs in my family", you may have wondered if your ancestry is related to your heart health. Cardiomyopathy, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke and even heart attacks can indeed be influenced by your genetic makeup and heredity. If your mother had a stroke or your father had a heart attack, even if your grandparents suffered from some type of heart disease, your risks of experiencing a problem with your heart are elevated.

That's because you are a product of those who came before you. Your genes came from your parents' genes, and they got many of their interior and exterior physical traits and abilities from their parents. You not only suffer a higher risk of heart disease. If your parents or grandparents had heart problems, you also run a greater chance of displaying risk factors. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) this link cannot be denied.

How a Family History of Heart Problems Can Actually Be a Good Thing

We would never claim that heart conditions are a positive event in someone's life. However, once you discover that others in your family that came before you suffered heart problems, you are armed with some very powerful information. This means that you can make the needed lifestyle changes to ensure that you never suffer from a painful, debilitating and possibly deadly heart disease. You can take the following steps to do exactly that.

7 Steps to a Happy Heart Despite Heart Disease in Your Family Tree

1 – Get up and get moving. Physical activity boosts healthy blood flow. When your blood is flowing properly, moving oxygen throughout your body, your heart does not have to work as hard. This means staying active helps contribute to a lower risk of heart disease.

2 – Keep your cholesterol level in a healthy place. High cholesterol can clog your arteries. This means your heart has to work harder to do its job, and you may suffer a stroke or heart attack because of it.

3 – Eat right. This means getting fewer fried, salty, sugary foods in your belly. You want to eat more raw foods, fruits and vegetables, whole foods and whole grains. Eat smart to protect your heart.

4 – Stop smoking and cut back on alcoholic drinks. A few adult beverages throughout the week might have little negative impact to your health. However, no number of cigarettes is recommended. Too much smoking and/or drinking ramps up the probability that you will contract some type of heart disease.

5 – Lose weight and your heart will feel great. Even being just a little overweight increases the pressure on your heart to circulate blood properly. If you become obese, your chances of developing heart disease grow greater still.

6 – Monitor your blood pressure frequently. High blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

7 – Keep your blood sugar level in line. Much of the food that you consume turns into glucose, also known as blood sugar. If you maintain a high blood sugar level, you can damage your heart.

Those 7 heart healthy tips should be practiced by everyone, regardless of age. If your ancestry reveals a history of heart problems in your family, the actions listed above are even more important if you want to keep heart disease at bay.