Genetic test for heart disease risk rolled out in UK
A test for a preventable form of heart disease is being rolled out in the UK. The DNA blood test aims to spot the one in 500 people in the UK who have familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), an inherited condition that greatly increases a person's heart attack risk. Left undiagnosed, up to half of people with FH will develop heart disease before they are 60.
Early treatment can bring risk down to a normal level. People with FH inherit a gene that causes high levels of "bad" cholesterol (LDL) in the blood. This can lead to hardening of the arteries and an increased risk of heart disease if left untreated.
A DNA test can check for the presence of the faulty gene. When people are diagnosed, their family should also be offered testing. If one person is found with FH, on average half their brothers and sisters and half their children will also have the faulty gene and be at high risk of early heart disease.