Early Screening Could Prevent Early Heart Disease

Holter monitors are portable devices used to measure and record heart activity continuously. Most commonly, a Holter monitor is worn when a slow heartbeat, fast or irregular heartbeat, tightness in the chest, or shortness of breath has been reported. These symptoms are common precursors to heart attack and stroke. The risk of heart attack and stroke is greatly increased if a patient has an inherited disorder called Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH).

FH is a genetic disorder caused by a defect on chromosome 19. It has two forms: Heterozygous and Homozygous. If the genetic mutation is inherited from only one parent, it is called Heterozygous FH and affects one in 250 people worldwide. If inherited from both parents, it is called Homozygous FH which affects approximately one in 160,000 people worldwide with possible consequences that are much more severe. This chromosomal defect makes the body unable to remove low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from the blood. Consistent high levels of LDL increase the likelihood of narrowed arteries from atherosclerosis at an early age.

In an attempt to reduce early unexpected heart attacks, a study was carried out by researchers from Queen Mary University of London and Great Ormond Street Hospital. A heel-stick blood test was performed on 10,059 children aged one to two during routine immunization visits. The blood test was a check for high cholesterol as well as 48 gene mutations that can cause FH.

The study suggests three to four in 1,000 people have FH. The researchers said the screening was “a simple, practical and effective way of screening the population to identify and prevent a relatively common inherited cause of cardiovascular disease.” They say it’s better to think of FH as “a marker that indicates an increased risk” of heart disease, as not everyone with FH mutations has high cholesterol, and not everyone with high cholesterol has heart disease. However, it does offer the knowledge of increased risk to patients so that they more seriously monitor their health as they age. They can make sure that blood work is performed routinely and opt for earlier stress tests or Holter monitoring to identify other early signs of cardiovascular disease. For more information on Holter monitoring for those affected by FH, contact a ReactDx consultant at 800-234-3278 (800-23-HEART). Follow future blog posts for more information on other products and services offered.

Jodi is a seasoned Human Resources professional who thrives on change and transformation. She fell in love with Human Resources when she attended Penn State University for graduate school in Public Administration with a curriculum that emphasized Human Resources. After earning her Master’s degree she began her career in the manufacturing industry in Talent Acquisition and was eventually assigned the overall HR Management responsibility of three divisions which included collective bargaining. Ultimately, she made her way to transitioning a new division of a Fortune 100 company under the corporate model as well as developing and executing Human Resources policies and procedures across a broad range of functional disciplines. At the next juncture of her career, she was tapped on the shoulder by former Executives that she previously worked with to join in on an exciting start-up. Today, Jodi is the Vice President of Talent Relations and Development for Medicomp Inc dba ReactDx and is responsible for managing the strategic Human Resources function which includes mergers and acquisitions for this rapidly expanding company.

Jodi and her husband enjoy landscaping, finding new restaurants and traveling whenever life gives them the opportunity.

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