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Is Cholesterol Hereditary? Here’s What You Need to Know

May 26, 2022

Primary Care

Is Cholesterol Hereditary? Here’s What You Need to Know

Cholesterol is a waxy lipid found in all the cells of the body. Your body requires a certain amount of cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. High cholesterol levels can be caused by several factors such as heredity, lifestyle, and food choices. This blog discusses inherited high cholesterol and how it can be diagnosed and treated.

Types of Cholesterol

Cholesterol is of two types. The first type is LDL cholesterol, which is often also called “bad” cholesterol. It’s considered unhealthy to have high LDL cholesterol levels in your body. The other one is HDL cholesterol, which is sometimes referred to as “good” cholesterol. Higher HDL cholesterol levels can be a sign of good health.

How to Tell If You Have Inherited High Cholesterol?

When you have a close blood relative, such as a parent, sibling, or grandparent, who has high cholesterol levels, you’ll be at risk of having cholesterol. This is known as familial hypercholesterolemia. People with genetic cholesterol will have a higher cholesterol level than others. Lifestyle choices, diet, and exercises can’t always control familial hypercholesterolemia, and medication can be recommended.

Early Warning Signs and Symptoms

High cholesterol levels are mostly asymptomatic in the early stages. A blood test, called the lipid panel test, can check your cholesterol levels and confirm if you have high cholesterol. Your doctor may recommend more cholesterol screenings or evaluate other lab findings such as VLDL, triglycerides, and apolipoproteins, to further assess risk levels.

Genetic Risk: Familial Hypercholesterolemia

Familial hypercholesterolemia is a type of hereditary high cholesterol. You’ve got about a 50% chance of inheriting familial hypercholesterolemia if either of your parents carries this genetic mutation. However, the risk is higher if both the parents carry it. Genetic cholesterol can be controlled with treatment and medications. To lower your cholesterol levels, you should also get checked on how much cholesterol is genetic.

Related: How Are Cholesterol and Heart Disease Connected?

What Can Cause Unhealthy Levels of Cholesterol in Your Body?

People with obesity have an increased risk of having a high cholesterol level. Similarly, high glucose levels can increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol. Excessive glucose levels in your blood can also damage the lining of arteries.

Smoking impacts heart health, while tobacco damages the walls of blood vessels. The damage will lead to fat deposits and thus increase your cholesterol. This can be prevented by making healthier lifestyle choices such as eating a nutritious diet, taking medications, and controlling other risk factors.

If you notice these symptoms of genetic hypercholesterolemia or general hypercholesterolemia, you can contact and visit us at MI Express Primary Care. Our team is led by Dr. Umayr Azimi, a board-certified internal medicine physician. He believes that each patient is unique and ensures that all of them get a personalized treatment plan. Our skilled medical professionals can develop a customized plan to treat and manage your high cholesterol effectively.

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