WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
High cholesterol and familial hypercholesterolaemia
HIGH CHOLESTEROL Cholesterol is a fat vital for the normal functioning of the body. It’s mainly made by the liver where it’s manufactured into certain hormones, particularly the sex hormones. It’s also found in some foods, but this cholesterol doesn’t contribute to a high blood cholesterol. There are two main types: low-density lipoproteins (LDL), the “bad” type of cholesterol linked to heart disease, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” type important for heart health. Having an excessively high level of cholesterol in your blood deleteriously affects your health. High cholesterol itself doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, but it increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA (FH) FH is a genetic condition, passed on by one of your parents. When you have FH, your cholesterol is high from birth, whereas most people’s cholesterol goes up as they get older and they may be 50, 60 or 70 before it’s considered high enough to increase their risk of heart disease. So it’s not that the cholesterol itself is any different, but your risk of heart disease is much higher because you’ve had high cholesterol for much longer.