Treating Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Treating familial hypercholesterolemia begins with being tested for the disorder. During testing, a cholesterol specialist (a.k.a. lipid specialist) will draw a blood sample using a finger stick or a needle. The blood is then sent to a laboratory for testing. If test results indicate familial hypercholesterolemia, the cholesterol specialist will likely recommend a treatment regimen that consists of one or more cholesterol-lowering medications and several positive lifestyle changes.
Medications commonly used to treat familial hypercholesterolemia include statin drugs, cholesterol absorbers, and bile acid sequestrants. Common non-medicinal therapies include quitting smoking, limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption, eating a diet low in saturated fat, and maintaining a weekly exercise routine. By practicing the right regimen of medicinal and non-medicinal therapies, people with FH can significantly reduce their risk of heart disease.
Knowing the Warning Signs
Several effective treatments are available for FH; however, many people are unaware they have the condition, and thus fail to seek treatment until after a heart attack reveals the disorder. Familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited condition. If one of your parents has the disorder, there is a 50 percent chance that you also have FH. In addition to genetic prevalence, below are some additional signs that commonly indicate the presence of familial hypercholesterolemia.
- Atypically high levels of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol
- Yellowish bumps or lumps in the skin, tendons, and/or eyelids
- Small deposits of cholesterol around the corner of the eye
- Constant chest pain that responds poorly to over-the-counter pain medications.
If you have any of these conditions, seeing a cholesterol specialist (also known as a lipidologist) right away could be essential for avoiding a heart attack. If the cholesterol specialist conducts a blood test and finds you have inherited hypercholesterolemia, a treatment regimen that lowers your cholesterol levels and reduces cardiovascular risk will be proposed immediately. By following the regimen, you can improve your health dramatically and help prevent heart attacks.
Need more information?
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a disease that can linger for years without detection. This is why many people discover they have the condition only after having a heart attack and receiving a blood lipid test. For more information about signs, diagnosis, and treatment of FH, contact the FH Foundation. We work with physicians, nurses, professional organizations, and government representatives to make positive changes for those who have familial hypercholesterolemia.
For more information about diagnosing and treating familial hypercholesterolemia, browse through our website, call us today at (626) 465-1234, or click here to use our contact form.