You have probably heard of “bad cholesterol”, formally called low-density lipoprotein or LDL.
Doctors recommend that LDL always be kept below 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dl) of blood.
But some people have levels that exceed 800 or 1000 mg / dl, and there is no diet or exercise that will lower those numbers.
It’s about people with familial hypercholesterolemia (plus known by the acronym HF), a genetic disease that is more common than imagined.
According to the HF Foundation, in the United States, one in every 200 to 500 people in the world suffer from this inherited disorder.
For comparison, other more well-known genetic diseases, such as Down syndrome and hemophilia, affect one in every 1,000 or 5,000 people, respectively.
The FH Foundation explains that people with this condition have “a 20 times higher risk of heart disease than the general population.”
“High cholesterol for a prolonged period of time can anticipate conditions such as angina, heart attack and even death by 10 or 15 years,” cardiologist Raúl Santos, president of the International Atherosclerosis Society of Brazil, explained to BBC News Brazil.
“Unfortunately, we detect less than 1% of patients with FH in Brazil. The vast majority do not even know they have this disease,” says Santos, who monitors about 1,500 people with this problem in his laboratory at the Instituto del Corazón (InCor) , in Sao Paulo.