Does my ethnic background make me more or less likely to get heart disease? Does someone's race or ethnicity really make a difference in his risk of developing heart disease? Why does skin color or where you were born make someone more likely to have hear
Actually, . Actually, yes, but not exactly. There are essentially two things that makes a person more or less likely to get a disease: one - genetic makeup and two - environmental factors. Your genetic predisposition to disease depends on small differences in your dna called single nucleotide polymorphisms or snps (pronounced "snips"). However, snps are not distributed evenly among people of different ethnicities. Thus, a snp associated with one disease could be found frequently among people born in one area but almost never among people born in a different geographic area. Also, a snp associated with a particular disease in one ethnicity such as caucasians may not be associated with that disease in another ethnicity, such as north american indians. In addition to a genetic predisposition, the environment plays a very important role in disease risk. Diet, smoking, pollutants have a significant impact on one's chances of developing a disease and these factors vary greatly between geographic locations. I have appended a link here to a website that allows you to calculate your heart disease risk, however, I am not sure if that calculator factors in the genetic predisposition.