Cholesterol and Genetics

Could cholesterol levels be impacted by your family? Let's examine the role of genetics in high blood cholesterol.

High cholesterol is typically associated with poor diet, lack of exercise and being overweight. However, as September ushers in Cholesterol Education Month, you can see how genetics can be a contributing factor.

Familial hypercholesterolemia
A big name for a big problem. Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is one instance where genetics has an effect on cholesterol level. The condition occurs when one or both of your parents have the gene for the condition. Normally, the liver removes LDL, the bad cholesterol from the blood using receptors. When you have FH, the receptors don't function correctly, therefore, the liver is unable to remove the LDL from the blood.

Hyperlipidiemia
This condition is another case where genetic disposition can cause high cholesterol levels. People with hyperlipidiemia simply have too many fats in their blood, which could describe high cholesterol or high Triglycerides. 

Treatment 
Even though FH and hyperlipidiemia are related to genetics, the treatment for the two doesn't differ much from the treatment for a typical high cholesterol reading. In some cases, the level of cholesterol can be mitigated with diet and exercise. Prescription medications may also be used.

To manage your cholesterol, do the following:

  • Lose excess weight
  • Increase fiber intake
  • Reduce consumption of red meats and eggs to reduce your saturated fat and cholesterol intake
  • Read nutrition labels to avoid high cholesterol and high fat foods

If you are diagnosed with high cholesterol, familial hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidiemia, the Heart Institute at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point can help. Our physicians are dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. For more information or for a physician referral, call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5119.

Related Posts:
Cholesterol 101: Understanding the Numbers and Treatments
5 Smart Ways to Protect Your Heart

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