Will High Cholesterol Affect Pregnancy?
North American Precis Syndicate
Women with familial hypercholesterolemia may need extra care while pregnant. (NAPS)
(NAPSI)—Cholesterol levels naturally rise during pregnancy and are
not usually monitored or treated at that time. However, if you are the one
out of every 200 adults who has an inherited form of high cholesterol, you
may require special monitoring if you become pregnant.
Familial hypercholesterolemia, or FH, is an inherited defect in how the
body recycles LDL (bad) cholesterol. Therefore, in untreated adults, LDL
levels in the blood remain very high—above 190 milligrams per deciliter
(mg/dL) of blood—making someone 20 times more likely to have heart
Awareness is critical, as coronary heart disease appears up to 30 years
earlier in women with FH than in women without it. Thirty percent of
untreated women will have a heart attack before they turn 60.
To address this important health question for women, Maria Sophocles,
M.D., an OB/GYN and board member of the FH Foundation, offers ideas on what
women should know about high cholesterol and pregnancy.
How do I know if I have FH?
Checking your lipid levels and knowing your family’s history of
cardiovascular diseases can help your doctor determine your risk and
Should I avoid pregnancy?
“Women with FH can and should have the family they want,” said
Sophocles. If you have FH, she suggests your pregnancy should be co-managed
by an OB and a cardiologist. American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines say
those with FH should consider consulting with a doctor who has expertise in
cholesterol management before becoming pregnant.
Can I take cholesterol-lowering
medications during pregnancy?
Women who have FH should stop taking statins one to two months before
trying to conceive, according to the 2018 cholesterol guidelines from the
AHA. If you become pregnant while on a statin, stop taking it as soon as the
pregnancy is discovered. You may resume statin medication after pregnancy.
You should also avoid statins while breast-feeding.
Let your doctor know if you were on a statin at the time of conception.
All statins are currently not recommended in pregnant women due to potential
effects on the developing baby.
What are my options during and
If your doctors want you to be on cholesterol-lowering medication during
pregnancy or breast-feeding, there are options they can discuss with you.
Will my children have high
FH is an inherited condition, so if you and/or your partner have it, your
children could be at higher risk of inheriting the condition. It’s
reasonable to test children for FH as early as age 2 years. Current
guidelines say it’s reasonable to begin treatment around age 10 if
lifestyle therapy is unsuccessful after three to six months.
“The good news is FH is treatable and you can live a long, healthy
life if you catch it early and maintain proper treatment,” Sophocles
Learn more about FH from the American Heart Association at www.heart.org/FH.
“Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an inherited defect in how the
body recycles LDL (bad) cholesterol. Women who have it may need extra care
while pregnant, says Maria Sophocles, M.D., OB/GYN and board member of the FH
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)