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Patient finds the key to her future heart health

Uploaded on Feb 20, 2018

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After having children, Jessica Pickett went to her primary care physician at Sanford Health to see if there was more that could be done to control her cholesterol levels, which had been high since college. Jessica wanted to be proactive about this health issue because both of her parents also had high cholesterol and her father developed congestive heart disease, which has led to many additional problems with his heart health. Jessica was referred to Maria Stys, MD, cardiologist at Sanford Health. As her care team worked to find a way to control Jessica's cholesterol levels, she hit a roadblock in insurance coverage that led her to meeting with certified genetic counselor Kristen DeBerg. During genetic counseling they discussed Jessica's personal and family history in the search for a possible hereditary condition in the family. After diving into Jessica's family tree, Kristen suspected that she might have familial hypercholesterolemia, or FH, the most common cause of inherited high cholesterol. "Meeting with Kristen was a great opportunity to find out that it wasn't my lifestyle decisions that impacted my cholesterol, but my genetics," Jessica says. "And now there's something that can be done to help my levels."