Global call to action on FH aims to improve diagnosis and treatment

The FH Foundation, World Heart Federation, and an international coalition join together to tackle the global burden of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a vastly under-recognized and poorly managed public health concern. A Global Call to Action on familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) was published today in JAMA Cardiology. Authored by a global panel of scientific experts, advocacy leaders, public health officials, and individuals with FH from 40 countries, the report notes glaring gaps in screening and guideline-based care for FH, the most common cause of early and aggressive heart disease.

The international coalition was convened by the FH Foundation and World Heart Federation to reexamine and update key recommendations issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their report on Familial Hypercholesterolemia in 1998. In the 20 years since that report, few of these recommendations have been systematically implemented on a country-by-country basis, leaving nine out of 10 people born with FH undiagnosed.

“Familial hypercholesterolemia represents an unprecedented opportunity for prevention of heart disease,” said Katherine Wilemon, Founder and CEO of the FH Foundation. “Our aim initiating this Call to Action is to highlight that we have had the scientific understanding, and effective therapies, to stop inherited coronary heart disease, but have allowed generations of families to go uncared for. It is time to address Familial hypercholesterolemia as a public health priority.”

FH is an inherited metabolic disorder found in all races and ethnicities and impacts 34 million people worldwide. Left untreated, individuals with FH have a 20-times higher risk of illness and death from cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, if diagnosed and treated, heart attacks, strokes and the need for surgery can be prevented.

The FH Global Call to Action coalition cites mounting scientific data, the commercialization of novel therapies, and technological advances as further impetus for public health officials and governments to commit to early screening and coordinated lifetime care for this large and vulnerable population.

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