High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) can be inherited, but it's often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, and thus preventable and treatable. A healthy diet, regular exercise and sometimes medication can go a long way toward reducing high cholesterol.
High cholesterol typically doesn't cause any symptoms. In the vast majority of cases, the only true symptoms it may cause are emergency events. For instance, a heart attack or stroke can result from the damage caused by high cholesterol over time. These events typically don’t occur until high cholesterol leads to the formation of plaque in your arteries.
In the UK, most of the 120,000 people who are thought to have familial hypercholesterolaemia are undiagnosed and untreated. As a result of the increased risk of developing CVD, it's very important that those with familial hypercholesterolaemia are diagnosed as early as possible and offered appropriate treatment.