People who have a family history of high cholesterol, or heart disease, early heart attack or stroke are at an increased risk of having FH. The DNA changes that cause FH are more common in certain ethnicities, including French Canadians, Ashkenazi Jews, Lebanese people, and several South African populations.3
If you already have high levels of LDL-cholesterol and improving your diet and exercise hasn’t helped, you may benefit from learning whether you have FH. In addition to a healthy lifestyle, medications like statins are typically required to control cholesterol levels, and often at an earlier than average age.
If someone is found to have a genetic variation that causes FH, there is a 50% (or 1 in 2) chance that their parents, siblings, and children also inherited the same variation that puts them at risk for high cholesterol and heart disease. Even if someone isn’t showing any symptoms, early screening and medications are important.