Coronavirus and FH

Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. But what does this mean for those living with cholesterol or lipid conditions?

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This page was last reviewed on Monday 18 May 2020

 

Here you can find out about coronavirus if you have familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH). We will build on this information as more evidence becomes available. In the meantime, feel free to call our helpline if you have questions or concerns. 

Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) and coronavirus

If you have FH and have also been diagnosed with heart disease you are classed as ‘high risk’ 

This means you should closely follow the social distancing guidelines set out by the Government. This is because the risk of severe illness associated with the virus is higher for you than for the general population.

We are also aware that most GP services, some hospitals and clinics, and some specialist FH services are unable to operate as normal in order to help support the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic. There may, therefore, be delays and cancellations for routine appointments.

If you have FH but have not been diagnosed with heart disease you may also be at high risk if:

  • you are a man and you were diagnosed and first treated for FH after the age of 50
  • you are a woman and you were diagnosed and first treated for FH after the age of 60
  • you have FH with other risk factors such as high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes
  • you have FH with severely increased Lipoprotein (a) levels (greater than 500mg/L or 100nmol/L)

The likelihood of having underlying heart disease if you are in one of  these groups is approximately 50% (although this may be lower if you have been having treatment for a long time and it's working well).

If you fall into one of these categories you should consider yourself as a high risk person and follow the social distancing guidelines while continuing to take all your prescribed medication.

Letting your employers know

You may have to wait longer than usual to see a health professional who can give you information about COVID-19 and your health. If you fall into the higher risk category and you need to let your employer know about the measures you need to take, our specialists have written a letter to help you with this. It explains who is at higher risk and the measures you need to take.

This is an interim measure while you wait to see a health professional. You can also give a copy to your health professional when you see them to show them what our specialist have said.

If you would like a copy of this letter please contact our Healthcare Team at ask@heartuk.org.uk.