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Hope for patients with familial hypercholesterolemia

When I recently learned that my cholesterol was a bit high, I was told that a regular exercise routine and a couple of oatmeal breakfasts per week should do the trick to bring the numbers back to a normal range. But for Brenda Gundell, a genetic disease called Familial Hypercholesterolemia, or FH, means that simple lifestyle changes won't make for a quick fix.

FH affects cholesterol processing from birth, and while the condition is common - affecting more than 600,000 people in the U.S. - it is diagnosed in less than 10 percent of those who have it. Gundell was only 15 when she first heard about FH; her father, just 39 at the time, had such extreme levels of total cholesterol that they led to a fatal heart attack. Fortunately for Gundell, while the disease can be destructive, it is, in fact, treatable. And, with the help of FH specialists at Stanford's Preventive Cardiology Clinic, Gundell has kept her cholesterol in check for the last 17 years and is looking forward to a long life.

Grundell's story is detailed in the Stanford Hospital video above.

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