Inherited risk of high cholesterol should be identified and treated as early as possible, NICE says in updated guidance

6th November 2017

Medical records should be checked to identify people who may be at risk of common inherited cholesterol disorder familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says.

FH is a genetic condition that causes abnormally high levels of cholesterol to build up in the body. If untreated, FH increases risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) including heart attack and stroke.

Currently only 15% of the estimated 260,000 people in the UK with FH have been diagnosed, including just 600 of the 56,000 children thought to have the condition.

It is possible to identify family members who may be at risk; siblings and children of people with FH have a 50% risk of inheriting the condition. The guideline also recommends that people who develop cardiovascular disease before the age of 60 are offered a cholesterol reading to see whether they are at risk of FH.

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