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CVD hypercholesterolaemia

Hypercholesterolaemia

Hypercholesterolaemia, namely high cholesterol, together with hypertension and AF results in a significant burden on the NHS. Nurses have a crucial role to identify and help people manage and control high cholesterol.

Cholesterol is made in the liver and is needed to keep cells healthy. It is carried in the blood by lipoproteins.There are two main forms of cholesterol; low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is considered the unhealthy form of cholesterol, whereas HDL is more protective. 

Patients need to be aware of cholesterol and its function in the body and the breakdown in lipid profiles.

Raised or unhealthy patterns of blood cholesterol can affect many people and can remain undiagnosed.

Factors influencing hypercholesterolaemia include:

  • family history
  • diet and lifestyle 
  • weight
  • gender
  • age
  • ethnicity
  • medical history

Hypercholesterolaemia is treated by modifying lifestyle and/or pharmacological treatments. 

The 2016 NICE guidance on Cardiovascular Disease: risk assessment and reduction recommends that people with a 10% or greater risk of developing CVD are offered statins. See: QRISK®2

Lifestyle changes and, where necessary, treatment with a statin can reduce the risks and early identification is important. Health care professionals can make every contact count to detect and prevent cardiovascular disease. 

Useful hypercholesterolaemia resources

For more information on the management of hypercholesterolaemia, see:

Heart UK.  Heart UK provides support, guidance and education services to healthcare professionals and people and families with concerns about cholesterol.  

British Heart Foundation. High Cholesterol.

NICE (2016) Cardiovascular disease: risk assessment and reduction, including lipid modification.

NICE (2017) Familial hypercholesterolaemia: identification and management. This guideline covers identifying and managing familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), a specific type of high cholesterol that runs in the family, in children, young people and adults. It aims to help identify people at increased risk of coronary heart disease as a result of having FH.