80-90% of Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) cases remain undiagnosed. Two simple interventions improved diagnosis of genetic inherited high cholesterol in one CCG. Could your CCG establish a similar Familial Hypercholesterolemia programme?
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What is Familial Hypercholesterolemia?
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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.
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.