• FH is not caused by an
    unhealthy lifestyle, but
    is passed from generation
    to generation through an
    “altered” gene

What is Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH)?

Familial hypercholesterolaemia (often shortened to FH) is an inherited condition which leads to exceptionally high cholesterol levels, often double and sometimes four times those of the general population.

Watch our short video​ on FH ►Dr Sarah Jarvis explains more about the signs and symptoms of Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) as well as how it can be diagnosed and treated. 

Dr Sarah Jarvis explains more about the signs and symptoms of Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH)

The prevalence of Familial Hypercholesterolemia is at least 1 in 500 (120,000) but may be more as in other European countries.  The figures quoted for other European countries such as Holland are around 1 in 200 to 1 in 300 (in the UK that would result in more than 300,000 people with the condition).  There is currently insufficient data in the UK to quote these higher numbers.

Genetic inherited high cholesterol (Familial Hypercholesterolemia​) is not caused by an unhealthy diet or lifestyle, but is passed from generation to generation through a “faulty” or “altered” gene. This means that brothers and sisters or children of someone with Familial Hypercholesterolemia have a one in two (50%) chance of having the condition. Discover more on how Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) is inherited here.

In people with hereditary high cholesterol​, raised levels of cholesterol lead to early heart disease, if left untreated. But early diagnosis of familial hypercholesterolemia and effective treatment reduces the risk of heart disease and can help ensure that people with FH have a normal life expectancy.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with FH, then these two booklets are an essential read:

Written by HEART UK these two booklets provides a step-by-step explanation of what Familial Hypercholesterolemia is, how it is diagnosed, treatment and tips for everyday living.

You can also order a copy of either booklet from HEART UK by calling our Cholesterol Helpline on 0345 450 5988, by emailing us, or by writing to HEART UK, 7 North Road, Maidenhead, SL6 1PE – mark your envelope FH Booklets

We also offer a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions section about Familial Hypercholesterolemia on our website here.

Staying healthy

Eating a healthy diet, not smoking and being physically active are important in helping to keep your cholesterol and other blood fats low.

Inherited cholesterol facts
  • People with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) are at greater rish of heart disease
  • At least 1 in 500 people are believed to have FH but may be more as in other European countries
  • Of the 120,000 people in the UK with FH only 15% – less than 1 in 5, know they have the condition
  • At least 28,000 children in the UK have FH but only 600 of these are known
Fact sheets
Fact sheets

HEART UK has produced a range of diet and medical fact sheets for you to use and refer to.

 
What is FH?

Genetic inherited high cholesterol, known as Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) explained.