Cholesterol is a waxy substance that helps the body create vitamin D, steroid hormones, and cell membranes. It also synthesizes bile acids, which aid in digestion. Cholesterol levels of up to 200mg/dL are considered healthy. A count of between 200 and 240 mg/dL is borderline, while people whose cholesterol levels are higher than 240 mg/dL have "high cholesterol." Chronically high levels of bad cholesterol is hypercholesterolemia. Over time, this condition can cause irreversible damage to the body.
Familial hypercholesterolemia, FH, is an autosomal dominant genetic defect on chromosome 19, which renders the body unable to remove bad cholesterol from the blood. This increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and other complications. Children have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the disease if one parent has this mutation. However, in cases where both parents have the defect, the child's risk of a cardiac event or developing heart disease during childhood is much higher.
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