The true risks of high cholesterol depend on your cholesterol fractions and other heart disease risk factors, not your family history
Dr. Sinatra: This is a question from one of my e-letter subscribers. Dear Dr. Sinatra: I have a family history of high cholesterol. Am I at greater risk for heart disease and should I take special precautions?
Folks, I get this question often and I have to tell you that if you have a high cholesterol and it runs in your family and your family members are living into their 80s and 90s, don't worry about it. I mean, look-cholesterol could be a risk factor for heart disease. It's found at the scene of the crime, but it's not the perpetrator.
However, if you do have a family of heart disease and your cholesterol is high, then you want to know about other important risk factors. For example, do I have elevated C-reactive protein? Do I have elevated fibrinogen? Do I have elevated Lp(a) or homocysteine?
Now, if your high cholesterol keeps company with these other components, I call it toxic blood syndrome. If you have toxic blood or inflammatory blood with a high cholesterol and a positive family history, well, then you need to take precautions. Then you really need to take a look at your cholesterol, see how it's fractionated, see where the problem is, and then take some measures to neutralize it. But if you have a family history, it's one thing; if your family history is negative, don't worry.