New service launched to help families with inherited risk of heart disease

Dr Adrian Mairs, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at the PHA and public health lead for the programme, said: “Northern Ireland is one of the first countries that have an organised system for identifying people with Familial Hypercholesterolaemia. Our aim is to identify everyone with this genetic disorder so that they can get the advice and treatment they need to prevent the early development of cardiovascular disease and premature death.”

This is a regional service that will be delivered locally and has been developed to actively identify all known cases of FH and offer family follow-up testing to their immediate family members. The development of this new service should result in an additional 1,000 people with FH being diagnosed and treated over the first four years of the programme. This will prevent at least 170 cardiovascular deaths.

3 Responses to “New service launched to help families with inherited risk of heart disease”

  1. esl

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  2. Beth

    At what age do you recommend testing children that have FH in their family history?

    • The FH Foundation

      Thank you for writing to us. It’s recommended that children who have a family history of FH get an initial cholesterol test at age 2. Before that the test can be unreliable. Children generally are not treated with medication at that age, unless they have homozygous FH (FH gene from both parents), but it is good to know and establish good habits that young.
      It sounds like you probably already know that FH is caused by a dominant gene, so each child of a person with FH has a 50% chance of inheriting the disorder. But that means that they have a 50% of not inheriting the disorder so you can also get good news.
      Universal screening of cholesterol in children is recommended between the ages of 9 and 11 (American Academy of Pediatrics and NHLBI), regardless of their family history. Children with FH often begin treatment around age 8. Of course, every family has to make their own determination with their FH specialist about what is best for them.
      I hope that answers your question and I hope you get good news. I’d love to hear more about your own experience. Does FH run in your family? Are you working with a healthcare provider who is familiar with FH?


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