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“…Why Does High Cholesterol Run In Families
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is the term used for high blood cholesterol that is passed down in families. Let’s learn more about what it is and why it happens.
What is familial hypercholesterolemia?
It is an inherited condition that causes high blood cholesterol to run in families. It is basically a genetic defect that begins at birth and increases the risk of getting cardiovascular diseases at a very young age.
What causes familial hypercholesterolemia?
The familial tendency to high cholesterol is passed down due to a defect on the chromosome 19. This defect makes the body unable to remove the low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol –the bad cholesterol-which gradually piles up. This trait is passed down in an autosomal dominant manner which means that the trait can be passed down in children even if one of the parents carries this defective gene.
As LDL cholesterol progressively surges in quantity, the likelihood of cholesterol plaques deposition in arteries increases. People with familial hypercholesterolemia are more prone to developing narrowing of vessels (atherosclerosis) from a very young age.
What is the morbidity risk for FH?
People with familial hypercholesterolemia are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like angina, heart attack and stroke as compared to the general population. If the trait is acquired from both the parents, the risk of these diseases is abnormally high and so is the mortality risk.
Men with familial hypercholesterolemia are at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases almost 20 years earlier than general male population and about 50% of them are at risk of having a second heart attack or stroke before they reach the age of 50…”
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