Heart Disease: It’s in your genes

Everyone would like to change some aspect of themselves, whether it is related to their appearance or their behavior. Certain things, however, cannot be changed because they are hard-coded into our genes. We inherit a lot of desirable and undesirable genes from our parents, and in some cases, we may even inherit genetic diseases.
One such disease is heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, which is believed to affect one in 200 people in the United States alone. It is an autosomal dominant disorder,it means it can be transmitted from mother or father. Even if one of the parent is suffering from HeFH. 50% chances are there that it can be transmitted to the offspring.People with familial hypercholesterolemia are thought to be at greater risk of coronary heart disease, because the liver is unable to clear low density lipoprotein (LDL) from the blood, resulting in elevated LDL levels. This increased risk of heart disease was recently demonstrated in a study published in Circulation .
The study involved pooling data from six epidemiological studies, comprising of 1.2 million person years of follow-up. The existence of familial hypercholesterolemia was defined by LDL levels ≥190 mg/dL, while LDL levels <130 mg/dL were considered to be average. The results indicated that in the long term, people with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia were five times more likely to develop coronary heart disease, and the onset of disease could be accelerated by up to 30 years in women and up to 20 years in men.It can also affect brain, skin, eye. Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, or hardening of the arteries, was more common in people with the inherited disorder, possibly resulting in the earlier onset of heart disease. These results were independent of common risk factors of heart disease such as smoking and lifestyle. The results are clinically important, as the long-term risks of familial hypercholesterolemia can be better explained to patients, and management of their cholesterol levels with cholesterol-lowering drugs can be more effective.
So if you are among the chosen few with familial hypercholesterolemia, do not despair, for there is hope for you yet.