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Fatal cholesterol disease overlooked and untreated
Date:10/20/2013

Hereditary high blood cholesterol leads to premature heart disease. It is overlooked and untreated virtually worldwide -- including in Europe. This is a major problem as the disease is dangerous for health. However, this disease is easy to diagnose and treat, according to the conclusion of a consensus report from the European Atherosclerosis Society. The report was recently published in the recognised medical journal European Heart Journal.

A new consensus report documents massive underdiagnosis and undertreatment of hereditary high blood cholesterol -- so-called familial hypercholesterolaemia -- in practically all 200 countries in the world, the only exceptions being the Netherlands and Norway.

"In most countries, the number of people with familial hypercholesterolaemia is unknown. This means that the condition is not detected until the person develops heart disease or dies suddenly far too young. Considering how easily the disease can be prevented, this situation is an admission of failure from a health perspective," says Brge Nordestgaard, Clinical Professor at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, and Chief Physician at Copenhagen University Hospital. He is the leading author of the new consensus report, which has been published in the European Heart Journal.

"In the general population, between 1 in 200 and 1 in 500 people inherit the disease familial hypercholesterolaemia, making the disease the most frequent hereditary and fatal disease. However, statins, which are safe and inexpensive treatments, can lower cholesterol levels. For these persons with a greatly increased risk of developing serious heart disease, the few side effects associated with statins are negligible," says Brge Nordestgaard.

Between 14 and 34 million people worldwide are estimated to suffer from familial hypercholesterolaemia. In Europe, the number is between 1.8 and 4.5 million and, in Denmark, between
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Contact: Professor Borge Nordestgaard
Boerge.Nordestgaard@regionh.dk
(45) 30-28-72-63
University of Copenhagen
Source:Eurekalert

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