Pamela Enright of Tipton County has been battling high cholesterol since she was in her twenties.
“At one time, it was over 600. It’s right around 300 now,” says Enright.
Her chronic condition has led to congestive heart failure, stents and the clogging of her arteries. Worse, she’s seen the same problems in her father, aunts, uncles and sadly her daughter who died at the age of 36.
“She had cholesterol, two major heart attacks. She had two surgeries and she couldn’t get her cholesterol down either.”
A defective gene has caused all these problems for Pamela and her family. It’s more common than many think. The condition is called Familial Hyper Cholesterolemia. Dr. Julie Clary, a Cardiologist at IU Health, says it’s found in one in every 250 people.
“Men with the condition: 50 percent will have a heart attack by the age of 50,” says Dr. Clary. “Women with the condition, left untreated, 30 percent will have a heart attack by the age of 60.”
The problem is so severe and so common, Dr. Clary has started a special clinic at IU Health just to test and treat these patients. Her focus is treating families and children. Some are as young as 2 years old who carry the defective gene and the risk for early heart disease.
“I treat them early, prevent them from having a heart attack down the road,” says Dr. Clary.
That’s exactly what Pamela Enright wants her family to do.
“Especially my granddaughter because her mother had two heart attacks and then I have one great grandson. I would like him to be tested. I would live it if my son would have it done. I’m still working on him.”
Pamela treats her cholesterol with Statins and injections of Repatha. Newer Statins called PCSK9’s, which lower LDL, are FDA approved and available as well.
For more on this condition, click on the link below.