Inherited High Cholesterol Increases Risk




Patients who experience high cholesterol due to an inherited genetic disorder from one of their parents—heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia — are much more likely than those with average cholesterol levels to have diseases caused by hardening of the arteries, including an accelerated onset of coronary heart disease by up to 30 years, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

The inherited form of high cholesterol—familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) — is a genetic disorder that is passed down through families. Individuals with FH have a genetic mutation that prevents the liver from removing excess low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as “bad” cholesterol, from their blood. FH is suspected when an individual has an LDL cholesterol level greater or equal to 190 mg/dL in the setting of a family history of premature cardiovascular events.

Researchers estimate that about 1.5 million people in the United States have the genetic mutation and are:

  • at five times higher risk for coronary heart disease over the long term (up to 30 years), compared to those with average levels (less than 130 mg/dL) of LDL cholesterol; and
  • more likely to have diseases caused by hardening of the arteries, including an accelerated onset of coronary heart disease by up to 20 years earlier in men and 30 years earlier in women.

These increased risks were independent of other risk factors.

Researchers say that their findings may help clinicians communicate the risks of FH more clearly to patients, which is important because it can be treated with cholesterol-lowering drugs to decrease the risks for coronary heart disease and stroke.

“Clinician-patient discussions about guideline-supported therapies can be informed by this data, as in the following scenario: a 25-year-old woman with newly diagnosed familial hypercholesterolemia can be informed that at her current age, if her cholesterol were to remain untreated, her risk of coronary heart disease death or nonfatal heart attack is comparable to that for a 55-year-old woman. Such an analogy, paired with counseling about how to improve risk, may motivate behavioral changes as well as adoption of and adherence to evidence-based medications,” researchers said.

For more information about FH, see Cholesterol in the Family in our sister publication, Heart Insight.

Source: American Heart Association News

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Featured News

Stroke deaths on the rise for Americans

Since at least the 1960s, the rate of Americans who die from stroke has been on the Marline. But that progress has slowed, and in some cases reversed, according to a new federal report.

Stopping daily aspirin increases heart attack, stroke risk

For heart attack survivors and people at high risk for one, a low-dose aspirin is part of the daily routine to prevent a heart attack or stroke. But for those who don’t stick to that routine, the rate of heart attacks, strokes or deaths from one of those causes goes up 37 percent, a new study shows.

Quitting cholesterol drugs may raise risk of another stroke

Patients who stop taking cholesterol-lowering drugs three to six months after their first stroke face a higher risk of another stroke, and an increased risk of hospitalization and death, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The best way to keep blood pressure under control?

Maintaining a healthy weight could be the key to keeping your blood pressure in check. New research indicates a healthy weight throughout your life can be more effective in controlling blood pressure over the long term than exercise, diet, not smoking and reducing alcohol consumption.

Combo of Smaller Meds May Just Be the Dose to Lower Blood Pressure

Combined smaller doses of blood pressure medications may be effective with fewer side effects than standard single doses, according to preliminary research.

Regular Exercise May Lessen Stroke Severity

Being physically active may boost the brain’s fight against the world’s No. 2 killer according to research.

Horses, Music May Boost Stroke Recovery

A little horsing around to music may be good therapy for stroke survivors.

Meds Can't Work If You Don't TakeThem

Only one in five patients seeking specialist for resistant HBP takes meds as prescribed

Male caregivers report more positives in caring for stroke survivors

Male caregivers report more positives in caring for stroke survivors

Receiving a clot-buster drug before reaching the hospital may reduce stroke disability

Receiving a clot-buster drug before reaching the hospital may reduce stroke disability

Exercise Can Significantly Improve Brain Function After STroke

Exercise can significantly improve brain function after stroke

Popular heartburn medication may increase ischemic stroke risk

Popular heartburn medication may increase ischemic stroke risk

Short episodes of abnormal heart rhythm may not increase risk of stroke

Short episodes of abnormal heart rhythm may not increase risk of stroke

Lowest stroke rates in older Baby Boomers; younger people rising

Lowest stroke rates in older Baby Boomers; younger people rising

Hand-in-Glove Rehab

New electrical stimulation therapy may improve hand function after stroke
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Departments

Stroke Notes

Stroke-related news you can use about new scientific findings, public policy, programs and resources.

Readers Room

Articles, poems and art submitted by stroke survivors and their loved ones.

Life Is Why

Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. These stroke survivors, caregivers and others share their 'whys'. We'd love for you to share yours, too!

Everyday Survival

Practical tips and advice for day-to day living after stroke.

Life At The Curb

A unique perspective on survival by comedian and stroke survivor John Kawie.

Simple Cooking

Cooking at home can be a daunting task, but a rewarding one for your diet and lifestyle (and your wallet). Making small changes in your diet is important to your heart health. Here are simple, healthy and affordable recipes and cooking tips.

Support Showcase

Our new department highlighting the good work being done by stroke support groups from around the nation. If you are part of a successful support group we should consider featuring, let us know!