Familial hypercholesterolaemia is one of the most common dominantly inherited disorders to be identified in primary care, leading to raised serum cholesterol evident from the first year of life. Around 1 in 500 people are affected by this condition, but less than 15% of these are currently attending lipid clinics, suggesting that the vast majority are unrecognised in general practice. The recently released National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence evidence-based guideline on the identification and management of familial hypercholesterolaemia provides an opportunity to bridge this gap. Primary care has a role in systematic and opportunistic case finding, such as recognising the relevance of a family history of premature coronary heart disease and/or grossly elevated cholesterol. Although affected individuals need specialist care, GPs can reinforce the information provided by specialists and support cascade screening to other affected members of the extended family.
Keywords: family health, familial hypercholesteroaemia, family health, medical genetics, primary health care