Working With a Cholesterol Specialist to Treat Familial Hypercholesterolemia

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Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a blood disorder that leads to elevated levels of cholesterol. Because those with FH have high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, they are predisposed to early heart disease and heart attacks. Men with FH tend to experience a first heart attack in their 40s or 50s, while women who have the condition often experience a first heart attack in their 60s. Unless the condition is treated, heart attacks are likely to continue.

Treating Familial Hypercholesterolemia


Treating familial hypercholesterolemia begins with being tested for the disorder. During testing, a cholesterol specialist (a.k.a. lipid specialist) will draw a blood sample using a finger stick or a needle. The blood is then sent to a laboratory for testing. If test results indicate familial hypercholesterolemia, the cholesterol specialist will likely recommend a treatment regimen that consists of one or more cholesterol-lowering medications and several positive lifestyle changes.

Medications commonly used to treat familial hypercholesterolemia include statin drugs, cholesterol absorbers, and bile acid sequestrants. Common non-medicinal therapies include quitting smoking, limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption, eating a diet low in saturated fat, and maintaining a weekly exercise routine. By practicing the right regimen of medicinal and non-medicinal therapies, people with FH can significantly reduce their risk of heart disease.

Knowing the Warning Signs

Several effective treatments are available for FH; however, many people are unaware they have the condition, and thus fail to seek treatment until after a heart attack reveals the disorder. Familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited condition. If one of your parents has the disorder, there is a 50 percent chance that you also have FH. In addition to genetic prevalence, below are some additional signs that commonly indicate the presence of familial hypercholesterolemia.

  • Atypically high levels of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol
  • Yellowish bumps or lumps in the skin, tendons, and/or eyelids
  • Small deposits of cholesterol around the corner of the eye
  • Constant chest pain that responds poorly to over-the-counter pain medications.

If you have any of these conditions, seeing a cholesterol specialist (also known as a lipidologist) right away could be essential for avoiding a heart attack. If the cholesterol specialist conducts a blood test and finds you have inherited hypercholesterolemia, a treatment regimen that lowers your cholesterol levels and reduces cardiovascular risk will be proposed immediately. By following the regimen, you can improve your health dramatically and help prevent heart attacks.

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Familial hypercholesterolemia is a disease that can linger for years without detection. This is why many people discover they have the condition only after having a heart attack and receiving a blood lipid test. For more information about signs, diagnosis, and treatment of FH, contact the FH Foundation. We work with physicians, nurses, professional organizations, and government representatives to make positive changes for those who have familial hypercholesterolemia.
For more information about diagnosing and treating familial hypercholesterolemia, browse through our website, call us today at (626) 465-1234, or click here to use our contact form.

3 Responses to “Working With a Cholesterol Specialist to Treat Familial Hypercholesterolemia”

  1. Magarietha Zondagh

    Hi, I just know in my knower that even with these specialists we will be given a lowfat diet regimen and statins. I have the disease, so do my 2 sons. My eldest son just had quintuple bypass at 34. My heart is broken. My mother has it and she’ll turn 83 this year. I also don’t have CVD. BUT, I went onto KETOGENIC diet in 2012 and for the first time in my life my total cholesterol came down to 6. Even on lots of lipid lowering drugs (NO, we cannot tolerate statins – we certainly WILL die on them – we get rhabdomyolises on it) my numbers never went lower than 8.8. NEVER. THUS I feel that our ilk have been left out with true research. They’re thinking like Ancyl Keys that eating fat is deadly for us, whereas my own GP told me that the blood can’t lie! AND, when my son tell them he can’t tolerate statins, they shrug their shoulders and say, “well now that’s a great pity”. I am quite cross and I need some dieting science and I do believe it lies with keto dieting. AND, very quickly too my cholesterol plunged on this diet! But my boys! I need them to live and not get sick on the only thing on offer and that horrible low fat diet. Sorry to be so abrasive, but I’m sick to death of this disease.

    Reply
    • James

      I’ve recently started a ketogenic diet and while it’s only been several weeks my triglycerides and HDL have both improved!

      Glad to hear that you’ve had success, it gives me hope!

      Reply
  2. Magarietha Zondagh

    ps I daresay too, that the motherload of these people are here in South Africa. They count among white Afrikaners, Ashknizi? Jews and strangely enough, our Indian population. I doubt very much whether we count as 1 in 500 – here I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s 1 in every 50 people. My mother is surrounded by 4 other old ladies in her retirement village who has it. Of course, the men are not in that village, since they never MADE it!

    Reply

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