Heart Disease, Family Health History, and Familial Hypercholesterolemia

a African American multi-generational family

Having a family health history of heart disease makes you more likely to develop heart disease yourself. In some cases, having family members with heart disease at a young age (age 50 or younger) can be a sign of familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disorder that causes high cholesterol. Take time to collect your family health history of heart disease and share this information with your doctor and other family members. Your doctor can help you take steps to lower your chances of having heart disease.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH)

People who have serious heart disease are among those more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. If you test positive for COVID-19 and have serious heart disease, treatment may be available that could lower your chance of becoming very sick.  Ask your healthcare provider if you may be eligible for treatments. Keep in mind treatments should begin in the first few days after your symptoms appear to be effective. COVID-19 vaccines (initial doses and boosters) and preventive measures for COVID-19 are especially important if you have serious heart disease. If untreated, people with FH are up to 22 times more likely to have coronary heart disease than those without FH. Although not everyone with FH has heart disease, many do. Everyone is encouraged to take certain steps to protect themselves from getting sick with COVID-19. It is especially important that those with increased risks, such as serious heart disease, take these steps.

Click here to learn steps you can take to help protect yourself if you have serious heart disease. Be sure to keep taking prescribed FH medications including statins and PCSK9 inhibitors as directed by your healthcare provider. Consider telemedicine appointments if you need to see your healthcare provider.

Page last reviewed: February 9, 2022