As many of you know, my family is personally impacted by familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). My dad, myself, both of my siblings, some of my nieces/nephews, and grandparents as well. 90% of people with FH don't even know they have it. I am excited to have joined with the FH Foundation to raise awareness and save lives!
I have the rarer condition of HoFH, which is why I had to have an aortic valve replacement and coronary artery bypass at age 28, and why I had a heart attack and second bypass at age 35. Due to lifelong exposure to extremely high cholesterol levels, a low-fat diet isn't enough for people with FH! Everyone who has FH, regardless of type, is at a higher risk of heart disease at an earlier age.
I was diagnosed at age 5 and began lifelong medications at that time. In my twenties, unable to get my cholesterol levels to acceptable levels on maximum medication, I began a treatment known as apheresis (similar to dialysis, a machine removes cholesterol from your blood over the course of about 3 hours). After 11 years of biweekly apheresis treatments, I am fortunate to now be benefitting from new medications that allow me to be free of the apheresis machine.
I have joined the FH Foundation as a Patient Advocate, with the goal to help others in my family and elsewhere who have this disease learn more about it, find better treatments, and hopefully avoid heart disease.
Thank you for considering supporting FH awareness and research!
Why should everyone want to “#KnowFH”? FH is a common life-threatening genetic disorder that leads to early and aggressive heart disease, the number one killer in the world. Approximately 30 million people are living with FH, yet over 90% are undiagnosed. The good news is, if diagnosed early and treated accurately, families with FH can live a healthy life.
Check out this recent news report from WDRB in Louisville, featuring yours truly for more information!