Call for an instant quote
0345 90 80 161
Open Mon to Fri 09:00 - 17:30 | Sat 09:00 - 16:00 (GMT)
08 December 2015 07:14
An inherited genetic fault can trigger dangerously high cholesterol levels
Around a quarter of a million Britons may be in danger of suffering an early heart attack because of an inherited gene that raises cholesterol levels, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
The genetic condition causes familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), something that leaves people with dangerously high levels of cholesterol from birth.
That significantly raises their chances of having a heart attack and, if left untreated, can cut life expectancy by up to 30 years.
It had previously been thought that around 125,000 people in the UK are living with the FH gene.
The BHF says although it now thinks double that number could have the inherited gene, only around 20,000 of them are being treated for FH at specialist clinics. The charity believes that identifying and treating everyone with the genetic fault could save up to 25,000 lives.
High cholesterol levels are linked with various heart conditions, something which can be covered among holidaymakers by a specialist medical travel insurance policy.
The BHF now wants to see a testing programme introduced throughout the country in a bid to identify families affected by the inherited gene.
That would potentially enable adults and children above the age of 10 to be prescribed with statins to reduce their cholesterol levels.
The charity's medical director, Professor Peter Weissberg, says while FH is often referred to as a "hidden killer" the gene does not have to remain hidden and the condition does not have to prove fatal.
He says once FH has been identified, its treatment to prevent heart disease is straightforward.
But Professor Weissberg says awareness of FH needs to be raised to make sure that it does not leave future generations living with a high risk of suffering an early heart attack.
The charity says moves to establish FH services have not been quick enough. It is now paying for 25 specialist nursing posts to be set up at more than a dozen locations.
But it says a nationwide testing programme needs to be rolled out to find everyone with the faulty gene and give them and their relatives the treatment they need.
20 January 2017
Winter sports enthusiasts are being urged to check they have the right insurance after new research shows only 1 in 6 people are covered under their standard travel insurance policy.
19 January 2017
Nearly 1,000 people have had their holidays in Gambia cut short amid growing political unrest in the African state.
18 January 2017
Researchers at Cambridge University may have made a breakthrough in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, according to preliminary findings.
17 January 2017
Stansted Airport has made a bid to become Britain's next hub for long-haul travel, as passengers are promised seamless connection facilities and baggage transfer.
13 January 2017
Long-term goals such as travelling more and visiting new places have come above healthy eating and changing jobs in a list of the top New Year's resolutions.
14 January 2017
Some of the biggest airports in the UK have been forced to cancel flights as snow and blizzard conditions sweep parts of the country.
Stress could be as significant a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes as smoking, drinking and overeating, new research shows.
24 December 2016
Planned strikes by British Airways cabin crew on Christmas Day and Boxing Day have been suspended amid continuing industrial unrest ahead of the weekend break.
11 January 2017
A connection between diabetes and inflection in children could be a major breakthrough in developing a cure for type 1 diabetes, according to new research.
10 January 2017
A new trial aimed at tackling widespread loneliness among older people is successfully reducing isolation using community-based tactics, a report shows.
07 January 2017
People may be able to enjoy better brain health in later life by following a Mediterranean diet, research has suggested.
06 January 2017
Many Britons plan to cut down on the costs of their holidays in 2017, as part of their financial resolutions for the New Year.