written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 6/28/2011
Haplogroups play an important role in determing someone's genetic makeup. Learn about haplogroup K2 in this article.
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A haplogroup is a large group of haplotypes, are often geographically oriented and are used to define genetic populations. As of 2009, haplogroup K2 is now known as haplogroup T. It originated in Asia and it's a human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup. It and mitochondrial DNA haplogroup T, which is associated with coronary artery disease, are different.
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Those within this haplogroup are believed to be less prone to diabetes. They may also have some resistance to Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
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Increased Health Risk
Those within haplogroup K2 are thought to be at a higher risk for developing coronary artery disease. This disease occurs when the coronary arteries become diseased or damaged, most often due to plaque (fatty deposits) building up. When these plaques are present in these arteries, the oxygen, blood, and nutrients being supplied to the heart are decreased. These arteries are the main blood vessels supplying these three essentials to the heart. The decrease in blood to the heart eventually leads to shortness of breath, chest pain, and other symptoms. When a complete blockage occurs, associated with a ruptured plaque or accumulated plaques, a heart attack can occur.
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This disease develops over several decades so patients typically do not begin to experience symptoms until the blood flow to the heart is reduced due to plaques. The three main symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and heart attack.
Shortness of breath: When a patient experiences this symptoms they will feel like they cannot catch their breath. They may also feel severely fatigued after physical activity.
Chest pain: The chest pain associated with this disease is often described as someone standing on the chest, tightness, and pressure. Emotional or physical stress tends to trigger this symptom and it generally subsides within minutes of alleviating the stress.
Heart attack: Patients who are having a heart attack may experience pain in the left arm or shoulder, shortness of breath, a crushing pressure in the chest, and sweating. This is a medical emergency.
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In addition to being associated with this haplogroup, there are other risk factors for this disease. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. The latter four risk factors are all reversible and treating them can greatly reduce a patient's chance of developing this disease and having a heart attack.
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Lifestyle changes go a long way in treating this disease. Such changes include eating a healthy diet, losing excess weight, quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and reducing stress. Medications may be beneficial to some patients. These often include cholesterol-modifying drugs, beta-blockers, nitroglycerin, calcium channel blockers, aspirin, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Those requiring aggressive treatment may benefit from one of two medical procedures to restore and improve the flow of blood. These include coronary artery bypass surgery and angioplasty and stent placement.