News on Genetic High Cholesterol

April 30, 2001 (Ivanhoe Newswire) — If high cholesterol runs in your family, it may not mean you will meet a premature death, say researchers.

Researchers from the Netherlands examined 200 years worth of birth, marriage and death certificates in a family with a history of high cholesterol. High cholesterol often runs in families and has been linked in the past to the risk of early death and early onset of heart disease. However, a study in this week’s British Medical Journal finds the risk of death varies significantly among family members with high cholesterol.

Researchers found about 40 percent of family members in this “high cholesterol” family lived normal life spans. During the first 100 years, researchers found family members were apt to live longer than the average population. Early death rates started increasing in 1915 with a peak in the 1950’s. Since then, the life expectancy of the members has been increasing. Researchers also say death rates varied from branch to branch of the family tree.

Authors of the study suggest the wide variation in risk could be due to environmental factors such as diet and smoking. They say future research is needed to identify which patients are at extreme risk of premature death and which environmental factors can increase, or decrease, this risk.


Copyright – 2001 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.