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Why would a doctor want to do a genetic blood test for my high cholesterol?

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Some people have very high cholesterol because of a problem with one of their genes. This condition is called familial hypercholesterolemia or FH. If you have it, statins may not be able to lower your levels enough. You may need stronger treatment or, in some cases, a liver transplant.

A blood test can offer other clues. If your total cholesterol levels are above 300 mg/dL, or if your LDL is above 200 mg/dL, your doctor may run tests to see if you have FH. Your doctor might also study how well your heart works while you walk on a treadmill, called a stress test.

SOURCES:

Harvard Health Publications: “Help for Your Cholesterol When Statins Won’t Do.”

National Human Genome Research Institute.

Stone, N. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, July 2014.

Bitzur, R. Diabetes Care, August 2013.

Lab Tests Online.org: “CK.”

Stroes, E. European Heart Journal, published online Feb. 18, 2015.

Lab Tests Online.org: “hs-CRP.”

RadiologyInfo.org: “Ultrasound - Carotid.”

William Borden, MD, preventive cardiologist, director of healthcare delivery transformation, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

World Heart Federation.

Cedars-Sinai.edu.

Stanford University Hospital: “Ankle Brachial Index.”

Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner on January 27, 2020

SOURCES:

Harvard Health Publications: “Help for Your Cholesterol When Statins Won’t Do.”

National Human Genome Research Institute.

Stone, N. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, July 2014.

Bitzur, R. Diabetes Care, August 2013.

Lab Tests Online.org: “CK.”

Stroes, E. European Heart Journal, published online Feb. 18, 2015.

Lab Tests Online.org: “hs-CRP.”

RadiologyInfo.org: “Ultrasound - Carotid.”

William Borden, MD, preventive cardiologist, director of healthcare delivery transformation, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

World Heart Federation.

Cedars-Sinai.edu.

Stanford University Hospital: “Ankle Brachial Index.”

Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner on January 27, 2020

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Why might you need two medications for cholesterol if you have a genetic form of high cholesterol?

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