If you have high cholesterol, chances are that it’s indirectly putting your children at immediate extreme risk.
This is true even if they’re in their 20s, 30, or 40s and have no sign of cardiovascular diseases.
It’s because your high cholesterol could be a sign of a family disease, one that you’ve already beaten yourself.
Hereditary high cholesterol is a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). It is caused by a fault on chromosome 19 that compromises your body’s ability to remove LDL cholesterol from your blood vessels.
Unfortunately, it has no symptoms that are obviously noticeable, so many families do not realize that they have it.
Norwegian researchers wondered about the risk that this condition poses for heart attack and coronary heart disease and decided to find out by analyzing information from thousands of people with FH.
They identified 3,071 people with FH who had not had a prior heart attack and 2,795 people with the condition who did not have coronary heart disease.
They matched these people with a sample from the general population that approximately match them in age, so they could compare people with and without hereditary cholesterol.
They then examined Norwegian hospitalization records between 2000 and 2009 to compare how many people in each group were hospitalized with heart attack or coronary heart disease.
Interestingly, by age 70, people with FH were no more likely than those without it to suffer heart attack or coronary heart disease events, but from age 55 downward, they were at a much greater risk than the general population.
In fact, those with FH who had the greatest risk compared with the general population were people between ages 25 and 39, the youngest group studied here.
Across the board, for all ages, the risk for women was worse than for men, which is consistent with the findings of previous studies.
This means that it is incredibly important to diagnose familial hypercholesterolemia as early as possible so that it can be treated immediately.
This is because, for these people, it is simply not good enough to wait until they are in their 30s before they start controlling their cholesterol, as it is then already too late.
If this condition runs in the family, the cholesterol levels of children must be controlled from the moment they start walking.
So, if you know of several people in your family who experienced cardiovascular events before age 55, you might want a doctor to test you and your children for FH.
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