While lifestyle factors such as consumption of tobacco or an unhealthy diet can bolster your risk of heart disease considerably, one of the largest risk factors is heredity.

Simply put, if a history of heart disease has persisted throughout your lineage, you may be predisposed toward cardiovascular complications.

Though this could seem like a frightening thought, consulting with your physician or cardiologist about your family medical history can help to determine your hereditary risk of heart disease and replace worry with facts. If you intend to have this conversation, here are a few general starting points:

Heredity, heart disease, and age

For many individuals who haven't investigated their inherited risk for heart disease, a diagnosis may bring confusion about how the problem came to be. Though each case of heart disease is unique, individuals in a younger age group who find themselves diagnosed may be more likely to have hereditary factors involved.

For example, the website Livestrong reports that male patients who are diagnosed with coronary heart disease before their 55th birthday are likely to have had hereditary risk factors. This means that some aspects contributing to their diagnosis were likely beyond their control and simply genetically inherited. Knowing this can be integral to determining the right treatment regimen for these individuals.

Heredity, heart disease, and children

If you're a parent and you know that you or your spouse may have passed on hereditary heart disease risks to your children, you may want to alert their pediatrician or physician to this fact. While it will often be too early in young children to determine the severity or presence of said factors, their potential existence should be noted in your child's medical records as soon as possible.

If your child's physician is made aware of these early on, they will be able to monitor your child's health as they grow and, ideally, become aware of any arising cardiac problems or conditions as early as possible.

Heredity, heart disease, and diabetes

While they may seem unrelated, heart disease and diabetes are actually linked in a way that you may not realize. Type 2 diabetes, a condition in which your glucose or blood sugar levels are elevated too often, is associated with a handful of risk factors. Among them is heredity: if an individual has type 2 diabetes, their children are more likely to develop it at some point as well, according to the World Heart Federation.

Diabetes and heart disease are linked because individuals with type 2 diabetes are more likely than those without to develop a heart condition.