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High Cholesterol Message Board

High Cholesterol Board Index

Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an inherited disorder that causes very high cholesterol levels and greatly increases the chance of having a heart attack early in life. Heart attacks usually occur in men when they are 40-55 years old and in women when they are 50-65 years old. Unfortunately, they can sometimes occur when people are in their mid-twenties.

Cholesterol is removed from the blood by the liver using Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) receptors. Each person has two genes that are responsible for making the LDL receptors: one received from the father and one received from the mother. In a person with FH, an abnormal gene was passed on from one parent who has FH and a normal gene was passed on from the other parent. Therefore, half of the LDL receptors are absent or do not work properly and the other half are normal. Because half of the receptors do not remove the cholesterol normally, cholesterol levels increase in the blood. This results in damage to blood vessels, blockage of arteries and heart attacks at an early age.

If a person has FH, then each of his or her children will have a 50% chance of inheriting FH. You are either born with FH or not.

Here's a good link that explains treatment strategies.

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