FRIDAY, Jan. 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — In a special communication article, published online Jan. 2 in JAMA Cardiology, updated recommendations are presented for reducing the clinical and public health burden of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH).

Noting a considerable general lack of awareness of FH among the public and medical community, Katherine A. Wilemon, from the Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation in Pasadena, California, and colleagues reexamined and updated key public policy recommendations.

The global call-to-action recommendations include enhancing awareness regarding the importance of severe hypercholesterolemia and FH as a global public health issue. Awareness should be raised in a range of constituencies, including the general public, educational institutions, the general medical community, and health care delivery systems. Establishment of country/region-specific advocacy organizations is important for implementing the recommendations. Screening for FH should be performed according to country-specific guidelines; the most useful approach includes a combination of universal child-parent screening and cascade testing of first- and second-degree relatives of index cases. Treatment should be person-centered, available, and affordable and should start in childhood and continue through adulthood. A family-based care plan should be developed for the continuum of the life span. Funding for research, including genetic and environmental factors, interventions, and risk stratification, should be provided. Understanding the value of FH care for the family and society is necessary.

“The policies advocated herein may help to achieve long-term prevention goals for millions of people in a cost-effective manner,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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