Objectives: There are very few descriptions on how familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a genetic disorder with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), affects older patients. The aim of this study was to analyze the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of elderly patients with FH.
Methods: All FH patients with the same FH North Karelia-mutation aged 65 and over living in North Karelia province in Eastern Finland were asked to participate in the study in 2003. They were compared with age-standardized controls from the Finnish general population. A total of forty-three elderly FH patients were identified and thirty-seven of them (aged 65 to 84 years, M/F 10/27) agreed to participate. Most of them (27/37) had been diagnosed with CHD. All but one of these FH patients had been using statins for approximately 15 years. HRQoL was assessed with the RAND-36 (SF-36) and 15D instruments.
Results: Despite the clear cardiovascular morbidity and low socioeconomic status, these FH patients enjoyed a similar HRQoL as the age-standardized controls in the general population.
Conclusions: Lifelong hypercholesterolemia was not associated with poorer HRQoL in elderly survivors of FH. These elderly FH individuals were characterized by their healthy lifestyle and long-term statin treatment.