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Welsh Assembly extends heart screening programme

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People at risk of heart attacks in Wales due to an inherited disease that causes high cholesterol are to be screened, it has been announced.

Relatives of those confirmed with familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) will be tested in plans announced by the Assembly Government and British Heart Foundation.

It follows on from a successful pilot scheme in south Wales in which people from around 250 families were found to have FH.

It is believed that up to 4,800 people may not know they have the potentially life-threatening disease.

FH causes high cholesterol from birth and can lead to coronary heart disease and heart attacks in young people if left untreated. Medication and lifestyle changes can reduce risks.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said: ‘It is important that we are able to identify people early to give them the help and support to enable them to live life to the full.’

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