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Inherited high cholesterol levels: Heart of the Family

Watch this film to hear Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP, and patients, talk about inherited high cholesterol levels, also known as Familial Hypercholesterolaemia or FH. Hear from four people about the signs and symptoms of FH, their diagnosis stories, what it’s like living with FH and managing the condition and why early diagnosis is so important for all members of the family – young and old.

What is Heart of the Family?

The Heart of the Family Campaign aims to increase awareness of, and screening for, hereditary high cholesterol levels; a condition known as Familial Hypercholesterolaemia or FH. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to ensure that people with FH have a normal life expectancy and break the family cycles of premature heart disease.1 Watch the videos below to hear family stories about living with FH with commentary from Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and past chair of the Healthcare Committee at HEART UK – The Cholesterol Charity.

The Heart of the Family Campaign is developed and funded by Sanofi UK, with endorsement from HEART UK – The Cholesterol Charity.

What should people do if they think they have FH?

If you or your family have a history of high cholesterol levels, heart disease or early heart attacks, visit your doctor to find out your own cholesterol level and discuss getting tested for FH. People who are aware that FH runs in their family should themselves be tested, along with extended family members including grand-parents, parents, siblings, first cousins and children.

FH is generally diagnosed by a doctor who will take into account family history, cholesterol levels as well as identifying any physical symptoms. If your GP suspects FH, you will be referred to a specialist for confirmation of diagnosis.

An FH diagnosis can be fully confirmed by a genetic test. Once diagnosis is confirmed in an individual, it is important that all family members including siblings, children, parents, grand-parents and first cousins are tested for FH.

Download our "Understanding Familial Hypercholesterolaemia" guide.





References:

1. Heart UK. Familial Hypercholesterolaemia. Available at: http://heartuk.org.uk/fh-familial-hypercholesterolemia [Last accessed August 2015].