JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Are you the one? One in 500 people has a common genetic disorder that can cause premature heart attacks or death, and they don’t even know it. Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) is more common than type 1 diabetes, cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell disease and Down’s syndrome — but 80% of those affected are undiagnosed and have no idea they are at risk.
“If there is a family history of cardiovascular disease early in life, or someone in your family who has had a heart attack before the age of 50-60, we advise speaking to your health care provider and ask to be screened for FH — done with a simple blood test.”
During National Cholesterol Education Month this September, the National Lipid Association (NLA) wants the public to be aware of this disorder and the steps patients can take to limit its potentially devastating impacts.
FH is an inherited yet treatable disorder that causes very high cholesterol and can be passed from parents to their children. Individuals with FH often look perfectly healthy, and they are able to have normal, active lives. But FH patients have abnormally high levels of cholesterol in their bloodstream that can lead to serious and potentially fatal problems, including heart attack, stroke and even death.
“As specialists in cholesterol disorders, we want patients to understand the signs and symptoms of FH and other health-related problems that can arise from high cholesterol,” said Anne Goldberg, MD, a lipidologist and president of the Foundation of the National Lipid Association. “If there is a family history of cardiovascular disease early in life, or someone in your family who has had a heart attack before the age of 50-60, we advise speaking to your health care provider and ask to be screened for FH — done with a simple blood test.”
While there is no cure for FH, Goldberg says it can be successfully treated. “An early diagnosis and proper medication along with changes in diet and lifestyle can help reduce the risk of heart attack or death later in life,” according to Goldberg. With proper treatment, FH-related heart attacks could be prevented in as many as 200,000 patients and deaths could be prevented for as many as 500,000 people.
For patient resources, please visit www.LearnYourLipids.com. For more information about the NLA or its charitable arm, the Foundation of the National Lipid Association, please visit www.lipid.org and www.lipidfoundation.org. To find out how to join the FH patient registry, go to www.thefhfoundation.org.
The National Lipid Association is a multidisciplinary health care community that focuses on the prevention of dyslipidemias and their associated cardiometabolic disorders.