Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an autosomal dominant condition that affects 1 in 250 people worldwide, characterized by a genetic mutation that affects how cholesterol is regulated in the body. This allows high amounts of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) to accumulate and cause atherosclerosis. As a result, young adults and even children with this genetic condition can face complications such as heart attacks and strokes.
Though individuals with untreated FH can have up to a 20x increase in lifetime risk of heart disease when compared to the general population, estimates show that only 15-20% of these patients have been diagnosed. Further still, current data suggests that over 25% of documented FH patients have already progressed to heart disease by the time this diagnosis is made. With targeted early interventions, however, FH patients can reduce their risk of heart disease down to that of the general population. Caregiver awareness about the dangers of FH and its early presenting signs can therefore be pivotal in reducing lifetime risk for not only the patient, but also their family members.