I am 58 year old female, non-smoker (gave up 12 years ago) and overweight (BMI ~29) but otherwise have no health problems. I recently had a cholesterol test which came back at an astronomical 9.5 total. I have always had high cholesterol but all the GPs beforehand took account of my high HDL (usually ~2) and declared that I didn't have a problem. My new GP has read recent clinical guidelines and says that I probably have familial hypercholesterolemia.
Bizarrely, I am a family historian - I have my family tree going back at least 3 generations on all sides. No-one has died under the age of 72, male or female. My maternal grandmother died of a stroke at 83. My mother had a heart attack at 80 but is still alive four years later (after a single bypass and heart valve replacement). Her highest ever total cholesterol, according to her GP was 7.2. No other family members had heart problems. I do not, as far as I know have any clinical signs of FH like tendon xanthoma etc - possibly one small yellow blob on one eyelid - my mother has none. Could this be polygenic hypercholesterolemia and would that have a better prognosis?
Anyway, with the news of my cholesterol I paid for a heart scan. My CAC score was 96 - mild athersclerosis but 'high risk' for my age. I am now taking statins and aspirin. I do not have a unhealthy diet; I've never been fond of fatty things, cakes, biscuits etc. and I like fruit and vegetables but now my diet is even healthier and includes soya rather than dairy (I admit I was a cheesaholic!). I am not a couch potato and walk at least 2 miles a day most days of the week (I gave up driving years ago in favour of my feet). I am losing weight already with my new regime.
My question is realistically, probably hard to answer. Can I undo any of the damage to my arteries that's occurred already? How bad is '96'? Is my change in lifestyle and the drugs I've been given going to slow down the inevitable or are having furry arteries and heart attack inevitable? I'm rather keen on life and it's a bit of a shock to think that I may have already lost a big chunk of it when I had no idea that I had a genetic condition. Can it be slowed down, reversed even?
Any information would be gratefully received. Please excuse long post. Thank you.