Although most people’s cholesterol level depends on what they eat and how active they are, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes high cholesterol can be a genetic trait, and sometimes the genetic factor even goes unnoticed. If you suffer from high cholesterol no matter how healthy you are, especially if you are young, there may be other factors beyond your control at play, such as Familial Hypercholesterolemia. Here is some information for this inherited high cholesterol.
Although it is rarely diagnosed, FH is not a rare condition. Only 1 in 10 of those affected even know that they have it. Although the condition always causes a need for medical attention due to the complications it causes for the heart and arteries, not everyone is aware that they have it. If your or someone in your family has high cholesterol at a young age, or if everyone or almost everyone in your family has a high cholesterol, it is important to get tested.
High Cholesterol Won’t Go Away
Other than high cholesterol, there are a variety of other symptoms that can come with FH. The first is that the high cholesterol cannot be controlled through lifestyle changes. For example, if you have cut out everything in your diet that is said to cause high cholesterol, and you are staying physically active, but your cholesterol is still high, that could be a sign of a problem. This is because the liver is functioning inefficiently. In this case, medication is the key to controlling the cholesterol.
Extensive Family History
Another sign that you may have inherited high cholesterol is if you have an extensive family history of heart problems at a young age. Generally, having heart problems before middle age is a cause for concern as incidents don’t usually occur before 60 in men or 70 in women.
There are some physical symptoms of FH as well, such as bumps around the joints and yellow-orange areas around the eyes. A white arc near the colored part of the eye can also occur. All of these signs are from cholesterol deposits. Pain in the Achilles tendons is also a sign. Not all people with FH show physical signs; even if you are not seeing deposits, do not rule out the disorder completely.
Screenings for Diagnosis
If you suspect that your family may have a genetic problem causing heart issues and high cholesterol, there are screenings that can be done to test your family. These can be done even on children as young as two and can help determine not only whether the problem is genetic, but which family members will be more likely to be affected than others. This is an important step in preventing further problems.
If you have high cholesterol that you can’t beat or a family history of early onset heart disease, it may be time to look into inherited high cholesterol and ask a doctor to run some tests. It is important to keep a family history around for questions such as this. To find out more, look into FH and other genetic disorders that affect the heart and cholesterol, and prepare yourself and your family.