National Cholesterol Month: Protect your family from early heart disease

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National Cholesterol Month: Protect your family from early heart disease

Have you heard of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH)?

A common disorder that is passed from parents to their children, FH is often called the ‘silent killer’ as it is characterised by dangerously high levels of cholesterol, leading to early onset cardiovascular disease.

The good news is that if diagnosed, FH can be effectively treated. The even better news this National Cholesterol Month is that a rapid and accurate diagnostic test for FH, developed by Randox Laboratories, has made diagnosis across the UK much simpler.

The prevalence of FH

Thousands of families in the UK are affected by FH, as not only is heart disease the number one killer across the globe, there is a 50:50 chance that a parent with FH will pass it onto their children. The condition can lead to higher risk of a heart attack in men before the age of 50, or before the age of 60 in women.

A common disease, at least 1 in every 500 people in the UK are living with FH, although new international research suggests that 1 in every 200 people could be affected, which would mean as many as 300,000 people in the UK. Worryingly, it is substantially underdiagnosed and less than 12% of people with FH in the UK are aware that they have this potentially life-threatening condition.

Testing for FH

The current recommended screening techniques for Familial Hypercholesterolemia are costly and time consuming, limiting the number of individuals who benefit from a timely diagnosis. Under NHS guidelines, when a person is found to have FH, their closest blood relatives should get tested too – including children before the age of 10.

The Randox FH test, developed in partnership with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, enables detection of the 40 most common genetic mutations that cause FH in the UK, with results available in just three hours, and a  definitive diagnosis within one day.

With early and appropriate treatment, such as adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking cholesterol-lowering medication, risk of heart disease can be significantly reduced so that someone with FH can live as long as a person who doesn’t have the condition.

Professor John Chapman, Past- President of the European Atherosclerosis Society, which promotes study into the causes of accelerated atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, has welcomed the Randox test for suspected cases of FH:

“FH is a serious condition for those with a family history of accelerated atherosclerosis and premature cardiovascular disease. With this information, preventative measures including diet, lifestyle and lipid lowering drugs can be successfully introduced. Indeed, early identification and prevention can significantly benefit all family members potentially with this condition. In fact, we are entering an exciting time in the treatment of those with cardiovascular disease as new and highly effective drugs for lipid management are becoming available.”

The test, which is available through Randox Health Clinics, has been adopted by medical professionals within the NHS, including Dr. Colin Graham, recently retired Consultant Clinical Scientist and former Head of the Regional Genetics Lab in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, who introduced the test within his Belfast Laboratory screen for suspected cases of FH:

“The launch of this new clinically available test is a key milestone in the detection and diagnosis of FH. Current FH diagnostic tests require a large volume of samples to be batched, leading to lengthy turnaround times of two to three months. With the new test, the turnaround time is dramatically reduced, enabling more rapid patient diagnosis.”

Dr. Graham also highlighted the importance of improving detection rates through the screening of wider patient populations:

“This new test has the potential to enable FH screening to become routine in the clinical setting for improved detection and earlier identification of familial cases.”

Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories said:

“In the battle against cardiovascular disease, people with FH are on the front line. On World Heart Day it is important to raise awareness of FH as many people do not even know that they and their family members have this life-threatening condition. There is so much that can be done to support families with FH and with this readily available and much-needed test, detecting and treating entire families with FH is now possible.”

For more information please contact the Randox PR team by email: randoxpr@randox.com, or by phoning 028 9442 2413

 


What you need to know this National Cholesterol Month

October 2018 marks National Cholesterol Month, an entire month devoted to raising funds for the charity HEART UK, and raising awareness of the dangers of high cholesterol.

But how much do we actually know about cholesterol? Do we even know what it is?

Many people are confused about how cholesterol differs from fat, which is understandable, given that cholesterol is found in foods that are sometimes high in fat.

But cholesterol is actually a type of lipid, as is fat. Like fat, cholesterol is essential for a range of bodily functions, but unlike fat, cholesterol can’t be exercised off, sweated out or burned for energy.

The body does require a small amount of blood cholesterol to build the structure of cell membranes, and make hormones like oestrogen, testosterone and adrenal hormones.

It also helps your metabolism work efficiently. For example, cholesterol is essential for your body to produce vitamin D and bile acids to help you digest your food. It is carried in the blood by proteins, with which it combines to make lipoproteins.

The 2 main types of lipoprotein are:

  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) which carries cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver, where it’s either broken down or passed out of the body as a waste product. For this reason, HDL is referred to as “good cholesterol”, and higher levels are better.
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which carries cholesterol to the cells that need it. If there’s too much cholesterol for the cells to use, it can build up in the artery walls. For this reason, LDL is known as “bad cholesterol.”

This cholesterol in the body comes from two main sources: the liver and diet. The liver, other organs and other cells in your body product about 75-80% of the cholesterol in the blood, while our diet contributes to about 20-25% of our cholesterol levels.

Foods high in saturated fat which can ultimately increase cholesterol levels include butter, hard margarines, fatty meat and meat products such as sausages, full fat chees, milk, cream and yoghurt.

Eating these foods in excess can therefore lead to a high level of cholesterol in the blood, called hyperlipidaemia.

High cholesterol itself doesn’t cause any symptoms, but it does increase your risk of serious health conditions including cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke because it builds up in the artery walls, restricting the blood flow to your heart, brain, and the rest of the body.

Given its vital role in the body, the serious conditions it can cause should it get too high, and the fact that if high, it does not produce any symptoms, it is extremely important to regularly monitor your cholesterol through blood testing.

Randox offers a range of cholesterol tests to ensure that individuals with high cholesterol get the earliest and most accurate diagnosis. In fact, Randox is responsible for more than 15% of all cholesterol tests carried out across the globe. Randox are tackling the need for better cholesterol testing with our wide range of niche and high-performance assays including sdLDL Cholesterol, Lipoprotein (a) and HDL3 Cholesterol.

For more information about National Cholesterol Month, or cholesterol testing at Randox, please contact the Randox PR team by emailing randoxpr@randox.com or phone 028 9442 2413

 

 

 

 


Protect your family from early heart disease with a simple blood test

On World Heart Day 2015, Randox Laboratories unveiled a rapid, highly accurate diagnostic test to identify individuals with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a common disorder that is passed from parents to their children. FH is often called the ‘silent killer’ as it is characterised by dangerously high levels of cholesterol, leading to early onset cardiovascular disease. The good news is that if diagnosed, FH can be effectively treated; the even better news this National Cholesterol Month is that this new test has made diagnosis across the UK much simpler.

Thousands of families in the UK are affected by FH, as not only is heart disease the number one killer across the globe, there is a 50:50 chance that a parent with FH will pass it onto their children. The condition can lead to higher risk of a heart attack in men before the age of 50, or before the age of 60 in women.

A common disease, at least 1 in every 500 people in the UK are living with FH, although new international research suggests that 1 in every 200 people could be affected, which would mean as many as 300,000 people in the UK. Worryingly, it is substantially underdiagnosed and less than 12% of people with FH in the UK are aware that they have this potentially life-threatening condition.

The current recommended screening techniques are costly and time consuming, limiting the number of individuals who benefit from a timely diagnosis. Under NHS guidelines, when a person is found to have FH, their closest blood relatives should get tested too – including children before the age of 10. The new test allows definitive diagnosis within one day, rather than the usual weeks or even months for current tests, removing unnecessary anxiety and allowing people to take immediate action before it’s too late.

The new molecular test that has been developed by Randox Laboratories in Crumlin, Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, enables detection of the 40 most common genetic mutations that cause FH in the UK, with results available in just three hours. With early and appropriate treatment, such as adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking cholesterol-lowering medication, risk of heart disease can be significantly reduced so that someone with FH can live as long as a person who doesn’t have the condition.

Professor John Chapman, Past- President of the European Atherosclerosis Society, which promotes study into the causes of accelerated atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, has welcomed the new test for suspected cases of FH:

“FH is a serious condition for those with a family history of accelerated atherosclerosis and premature cardiovascular disease. With this information, preventative measures including diet, lifestyle and lipid lowering drugs can be successfully introduced. Indeed, early identification and prevention can significantly benefit all family members potentially with this condition. In fact, we are entering an exciting time in the treatment of those with cardiovascular disease as new and highly effective drugs for lipid management are becoming available.”

The test, which is available through Randox Health Clinics, has been adopted by medical professionals within the NHS, including Dr. Colin Graham, recently retired Consultant Clinical Scientist and former Head of the Regional Genetics Lab in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, who introduced the test within his Belfast Laboratory screen for suspected cases of FH:

“The launch of this new clinically available test is a key milestone in the detection and diagnosis of FH. Current FH diagnostic tests require a large volume of samples to be batched, leading to lengthy turnaround times of two to three months. With the new test, the turnaround time is dramatically reduced, enabling more rapid patient diagnosis.”

Dr. Graham also highlighted the importance of improving detection rates through the screening of wider patient populations:

“This new test has the potential to enable FH screening to become routine in the clinical setting for improved detection and earlier identification of familial cases.”

Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories said:

“In the battle against cardiovascular disease, people with FH are on the front line. On World Heart Day it is important to raise awareness of FH as many people do not even know that they and their family members have this life-threatening condition. There is so much that can be done to support families with FH and with this readily available and much-needed test, detecting and treating entire families with FH is now possible.”

For more information please contact our Randox Comms Team:

Email: amy.mcilwaine@randox.com

Tel: 028 9445 1016


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