Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an inherited condition. It causes high levels of total cholesterol. It also increases levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol. These high cholesterol levels increase a person’s risk for developing heart disease.

The liver removes LDL cholesterol from the blood. It does this by making receptors that attach to LDL cholesterol. With FH, there are problems with the receptors. There may be too few receptors, or they may not work as they should.

The Liver and Other Organs
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These problems are caused by a gene mutation. FH may be inherited from one or both parents.

If inherited from both parents, the condition is severe. Heart disease and heart attacks can occur at a very young age. People with a severe form of this condition usually die at a young age.