HIGH cholesterol – which is usually caused by poor diet and lack of exercise – can increase the risk of heart attack. However, some people are born with very high levels of cholesterol.
A study has found that over a 30-year period 1,668 cases of heart attack, stroke and angina, as well as an additional 276 deaths caused by Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH), could be avoided, for every 12,000 first degree relatives tested for the condition.
FH affects approximately 250,000 people in the UK but only about 18,000 of these people are currently diagnosed.
It causes abnormally high levels of cholesterol in a person’s blood from birth, meaning that otherwise healthy individuals are at a much greater risk of having a heart attack at a young age.