Early Warning Signs Of Familial Hypercholesterolemia That Many
By the time someone is diagnosed with Familial Hypercholesterolemia, an illness marked by
extremely high levels of LDL cholesterol, they've often had it for years and may have developed heart
disease. Because the early warning signs of this disease can seem mild or even be missed
altogether, it's extremely important for everyone to understand the signs of this common genetic
disorder, which can affect one in five hundred people. If you have any of the following warning signs,
you should talk to your doctor about testing and treatment:
A Family History Of Heart Disease
In the past, most people who had FH weren't diagnosed and treated for it until they'd been diagnosed
and treated for advanced heart disease. In many cases, individuals would have a heart attack before
anyone realized how elevated their bad (LDL) cholesterol levels were. If your parents, grandparents
or siblings have a history of heart problems, you and your family members should get tested for the
genetic markers for Familial Hypercholesterolemia.
Highly Elevated LDL Cholesterol Levels At An Early Age
Not everyone with high cholesterol has FH. If you have extremely high levels, however, it can be an
indication of Familial Hypercholesterolemia, particularly if your LDL levels are over 190 as an adult or
over 160 as a teen. In many cases, children will have elevated LDL levels early on in life. Doctors can
miss this early warning sign in children because kids aren't usually tested for cholesterol levels. The
American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that any child with a family history of heart
disease should be tested at age two and again at age ten. Catching the symptoms of Familial
Hypercholesterolemia early in life can lead to better treatment and prevent early heart disease or
Cholesterol That Doesn't Respond To Traditional Treatment
If you've been exercising regularly, improved your diet and have taken one or more of the most
common cholesterol lowering medications but still have high cholesterol, you should be tested for FH.
In many people with this disease, traditional treatments aren't enough. You may need to consult with
a lipids specialist who can tailor a customized treatment plan.
Physical Signs Of Familial Hypercholesterolemia
FH doesn't usually manifest itself with early physical symptoms unless you know what to look for. The
physical signs are relatively mild in nature and can be easily overlooked even by a physician unless
he or she knows what to look for. Typically, people are aware of these signs, but don't know that they
could indicate a serious disease:
Xanthelasmata: These are small, yellow patches around the eye area. Some may be slightly
raised, like a birthmark or cyst. These yellow patches are a build-up of fatty lipids beneath the
top layers of skin.
Xanthoma: These are areas of swelling, typically of the tendons on the back of the heel.
They usually appear as a kind of puffiness that makes the ankles look mildly bloated. They
can also be seen on the back of the hands.
ArcusCornealis: A white ring around the iris or pupil of the eye. This white ring starts as a
thin, white arc outlining either the iris or pupil of the eye. These deposits won't affect your
vision in any way. In the elderly, they are somewhat common, but if you are under age 40, it
could be a sign of high Familial Hypercholesterolemia.
If you have one or more the early warning signs listed above, you should talk to your doctor about
being tested for Familial Hypercholesterolemia. Early detection and treatment could mean the
difference between living a full life and living with heart disease.
The FH Foundation (http://www.thefhfoundation.org/learn/#what-can-i-do) was founded to support
individuals with FH and their families by providingreliable information, helpful hints and additional
resources onFamilial Hypercholesterolemia and its treatment. To learn more, visit