Consultant warns of the dangers of harmful cholesterol: It increases the risk of early heart disease 20 times

Consultant internal medicine at Imperial College London Diabetes Center Sarah Ali Qureshi said that familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disease that affects the body's ability to manage cholesterol.

She explained that hypercholesterolemia leads to the production of high levels of low-density lipoproteins, known as bad cholesterol, to which constant exposure increases the risk of early cardiovascular disease by about 20 times.

Dr. Sarah explained that familial hypercholesterolemia can be heterozygous, which is more common, or homozygous, which is the least common type, depending on whether the condition is inherited from one or both parents.

The FH Foundation estimates that one in 250 people in the world has heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, which is characterized by high LDL cholesterol above 190 in adults and 160 in children, and a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke. .

In contrast, the Foundation estimates that about one in every 300,000 people globally has homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, which is characterized by extremely high levels of bad cholesterol and can develop symptoms in childhood.

The earlier the therapeutic intervention, the better the results, as emphasized by Dr. Sarah, especially in cases of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, which are difficult to treat and can cause heart disease in children.

While lifestyle changes are beneficial in lowering cholesterol, patients with familial hypercholesterolemia, including children, often require medication in addition to this.

Pharmacological treatments include statins or statins, which suppress cholesterol production, ezetimibe, which reduces cholesterol absorption in the gut, and PCSK-9 inhibitors, which are often used as a supplement to statins or ezetimibe if they are insufficiently effective.

To avoid the serious risks of familial hypercholesterolemia, Dr. Sarah recommends genetic testing, noting that sequential testing can be done to identify all individuals with this genetic disorder within the family.

Couples receiving genetic counseling can also help assess risk.

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