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High cholesterol families.

Not all runners can maintain a healthy cholesterol profile with just diet and exercise. Diet and lifestyle are contributors to cholesterol level, but often, high cholesterol is the result of genetics and may remain high despite good diet and exercise. Known to the medical community as hypercholesterolemia, high cholesterol is associated with the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. More than half of all deaths in developed countries are related to atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases, but recent studies have indicated that drug treatment of high-risk individuals can reduce heart attacks by one third and related deaths by nearly 40%.

It is estimated that more than 10 million people world-wide have familial hypercholesterolemia. They constitute a unique population at high risk for the premature development of coronary heart disease. Studies conducted prior to the availability of effective cholesterol lowering drugs have indicated that without treatment, the mean age of onset of coronary heart disease in men with this genetic disorder is around the age of 40, and 10 to 15 years later for women.

The potential to prevent or even reverse atherosclerosis in patients with high cholesterol is better now than it has ever been, due to advances in both the recognition and treatment of this disorder. Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disorder that is well understood, deadly without treatment, and well controlled with treatment. Individuals with a family history of high cholesterol and coronary disease need to know that cholesterol lowering medications are available and effective. So if your family history includes individuals whose heart disease showed up early in life, let your doctor know and ask about cholesterol lowering drugs. It could save your life.

(World Health Organization/62, The Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999, Vol. 282, No. 24, p. 2340-2346)
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Title Annotation:genetic predisposition
Publication:Running & FitNews
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2000
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