High cholesterol in family question - Cholesterol Support

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High cholesterol in family question

Luna_lily profile image
10 Replies

In my mums side of the family high cholesterol seems to be an issue. It’s not been confirmed that it’s FE but my uncle at the age of 51, slim, healthy, non-smoker and had a clean diet, had a massive heart attack. He passed away a few years ago at 66 due to heart failure.

He was told it was caused by his high cholesterol but he never knew he had it at the time. They advised that his siblings got tested and they all had high cholesterol as did the majority of my cousins and everyone of them went on statins.

I had mine tested around the same time and mine was 5 so I was fine. Then about 6 years ago it was 6.9 and my doctor advised that I took statins but I declined and went on a vegan diet. Within 12 months it reduced to 4.3 and all the figures were great.

I have an underactive thyroid which I take treatment for. I do worry about cholesterol because my cousin who is the same age as me (42) recently had very high cholesterol and got told he was at risk of a heart attack like our uncle because of it. It’s worried me. My cholesterol is likely higher than when I last had it tested when it was 4.3, because I am less active these days because I’ve been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. I am going to get it tested again soon.

I’m just wondering what is the best diet for someone who may be at risk of high cholesterol, because it’s in the family? I can’t manage vegan anymore as it made my fatigue so much worse, I lost a lot of hair etc. I am taking a cholesterol lowering drink daily and using the spread on my food if I have ever have toast.

10 Replies
sandybrown profile image


Heart UK has a lot of information on Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH for short) is an inherited condition

You can read more in this link below:


Human body produces 80 % of total cholesterol on demand for the body to function. The other 20 % is from what goes in to the mouth, food and drinks. To control FH there are special places for blood test, discuss this with your GP for referral.

Luna_lily profile image
Luna_lily in reply to sandybrown

Thank you. It terrifies me the thought I could have FH. It was never officially diagnosed that’s what my uncle had but the majority of my family have high cholesterol and are on statins.

Batty1 profile image

Hypothyroidism and being under medicated can also cause high cholesterol.

Luna_lily profile image
Luna_lily in reply to Batty1

Yes, at the time my numbers were high I wasn’t yet medicated and my thyroid results were borderline. My numbers are ok now I’ve just not had cholesterol checked in recent years so I’m going to be asking for the test soon.

sandybrown profile image

You can buy a home testing device to do total cholesterol test.

Luna_lily profile image
Luna_lily in reply to sandybrown

Oh can you. I’ll look into that. Thank you 😊

sandybrown profile image
sandybrown in reply to Luna_lily

I bought a device (Kernel Multi check) to check, total cholesterol. blood glucose and uric acid, this is because of NHS blood testing delay. The prick test strip has a short life, just check this out.

Mickey11 profile image

I had high cholesterol and put off going on statins for quite a few years, but because I had a family history of it so was advised to take statins, which I must admit has been fine, but it’s everyone’s choice

DakCB-UK profile image

Top thing is don't worry. Worrying will probably do harm.

Diet? I find a vaguely mediterranean-style diet works best for me, but the effect is limited. There seems to be some variation between people. Some people get near-religious zeal pushing their diets. I'm surprised one hasn't posted here yet.

Good luck dealing with chronic fatigue. I'd deal with that first, then try to get active because an active lifestyle (don't drive when you can walk or cycle, for example) will probably help the cholesterol.

And now the bad news: as I understand it, most well-understood types of FH are basically a 50-50 chance of passing on to children, yet you write "majority". Is that just a slight majority, or an overwhelming one but a few people escape? And if overwhelming, is there significant variation in their cholesterol levels? If so, it sounds like you may have FH but one of the less-understood types with multiple genetic factors, so treatment will be trial and error and what works for even a close relative may not work for you. On the plus side, it also means what happened to your uncle, or the high risk of your cousin, is far from certain to happen to you. With current treatments, each of you will have a different experience.

Sheilanardone profile image

HEART UK - The Cholesterol Charity has a dietitian you can email with your specific questions on diet via ask@heartuk.org.uk

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