Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an inherited, or genetic, condition. The main risk factor is having a parent with the condition. This usually arises as a concern because a parent or aunts and uncles have had a cardiovascular event when they were young, usually before age 50.
In general, if one of your parents has FH, you have a 50/50 chance of having it. In the same way if you have FH, each of your children has a 50/50 chance of being born with it.
Detecting FH early and starting treatment is important to lower LDL cholesterol and prevent heart attacks, stroke and related death. That’s why it is important to find out who else in the family may have FH or be at risk for it.
Anyone can have FH, but it seems to be more common in French Canadians, Ashkenazi Jews, South Africans and Christian Lebanese.