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A decade ago, my cholesterol level was found to be raised at 6.1mmol/L but my GP thought my overall risk of heart disease was low, as I was active and otherwise healthy.  Years later, I discovered how wrong this was.  I became increasingly worried as my cholesterol level was going up despite making the changes to my diet and lifestyle.   When my sister had a stroke and no underlying cause was identified, I read about the genetic condition ‘Familial hypercholesterolemia’ (FH) on HEART UK’s website.  I applied the diagnostic tools to myself, and I came out as possible FH.  Just before the first Covid lockdown in 2020, I saw a different GP and presented my results.  My latest cholesterol had come back as 7.8mmol/L with ‘consider FH’?

As a woman being diagnosed and untreated at 60, meant I already had a 50% chance of having cardiovascular disease (CVD).  To avoid delay, and whilst waiting for a lipid clinic appointment, I was prescribed statins.  My lipid consultant agreed with this as my dad died at age 61 and my paternal grandfather had also died of a heart attack at age 45.    Further blood tests discovered that I also have a very high Lipoprotein (a) – another genetic blood fat related condition that further increases your risk of CVD.

I used HEART UK’s website and Helpline several times during the pandemic to learn these conditions.  It helped me to prepare for my medical appointments and to manage my condition. The HEART UK Helpline nurse was sensitive and receptive, and I trusted her expertise and knowledge of cholesterol and heart health.  She reassured me that I was asking the right questions and I was seeing the right person.  I do not have children but discussions about genetic testing have commenced. Meanwhile my adult nephews and nieces have been advised to get a cholesterol test. Thankfully I am now on treatment and my risk of CVD is now significantly reduced.  I am so grateful for HEART UK and the help and support they gave me.

HEART UK – The Cholesterol Charity, is the only charity in the UK dedicated to saving lives by helping people avoid heart attacks, strokes and vascular dementia caused by high cholesterol. It is estimated that close to half of UK adults have raised cholesterol which can lead to heart disease; it can be an inherited condition called familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) which runs in families.

The charity receives no Government funding and relies on the generosity of people like you to help support their vital lifesaving work. You can supoort by donating your preloved clothes here: www.icollectclothes.co.uk/donate/heart-uk

For further information about HEART UK see their website www.heartuk.org.uk

HEART UK | 10 MAY 2022

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