FH and Your Practice
FH and Your Practice
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is common. This genetic disorder occurs in 1 in 300-500 people, and in founder populations prevalence can be 1 in 100.1 A busy primary care clinician may have several patients with FH. There’s a good chance that you will encounter FH in your practice. It’s important to:
Prepare Patients for Their FH Journey
Patients who receive an FH diagnosis should be supported throughout their journey. While FH is a common genetic disorder, it is largely unknown in many communities. Educating patients about the importance of family testing and empowering patients with resources they can share may help identify others with FH. In talking with FH families, physicians are encouraged to consider that:
- Informing a family that they carry a genetic disorder is not easy.
- Family members may be hesitant to follow through on screening.
- Particular attention should be paid to addressing patients with children.
If a family history suggests risk, you can help by following screening recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
PCPs should understand the prevalence of familial hypercholesterolemia, what puts a family at risk, and the role of inheritance in the disease, as well as the risks involved in not treating FH. PCPs should also be prepared to perform cascade screening.
Heart disease in women is underrecognized and remains underdiagnosed. Women with FH have a high risk of CVD, regardless of Framingham risk stratification.
Review key points for OB/GYNs
By identifying patients with familial hypercholesterolemia based on cholesterol levels and premature cardiovascular disease, you can implement an aggressive lipid-lowering treatment approach.
Because you’re likely to receive referrals of patients with extreme lipid levels, you’re in a position to correctly diagnose FH.
You play a critical role in educating and treating families most seriously affected by familial hypercholesterolemia.
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Download discussion guides, an FH booklet, and an FH fact sheet developed by the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association to share with your patients.