David’s Story: Familial Hypercholesterolemia

Not many people would consider a heart attack to be a positive event, but for David Collings that’s exactly what it turned out to be.

While out walking with his wife and dogs one Christmas, David felt his chest tighten moments before his legs gave out. He initially tried to brush it off as a touch of the flu, but after seeing a doctor, David learned things were much more serious.

David Collider 2
David’s life was about to change. Source: www.youtube.com

A stent was inserted on New Year’s Eve of that year. During the procedure, doctors learned that one of David’s arteries had a 99% blockage. “You’re very, very lucky to be here,” they told him.

David had a hard time coming to terms with his situation:

“I was pushing my family away. I didn’t want to communicate with people. I just couldn’t work out why, why it had happened to me.”

But when he ultimately learned that he’s been living with FH–familial hypercholesterolemia–David said it was “a light at the end of the tunnel. I could put it in perspective.”

Previous generations of David’s family had passed away from heart disease, but no one had previously made the familial hypercholesterolemia diagnosis.

Once David learned that his elevated cholesterol was the result of inheritance, he immediately contacted other family members. After testing, a cousin and daughter were both shown to carry the same gene.

“I do feel lucky,” his cousin, Vivienne Carr, says. “Not for David, but for the rest of us. Now that we have this information, we can do something about it before anything happens to us.”

His family now has the knowledge to move forward. Source: www.youtube.com

With medication and lifestyle changes, David expects his daughter to live a full and healthy life. “I just need to watch my diet and exercise more,” says Bethan, “but nothing much drastic has changed.”

As for David, he continues to raise awareness. By speaking out, he hopes others who’ve experienced heart attacks will do more to learn the root cause of it. And if someone is diagnosed with FH, he wants them to know it’s not the end of the world.

“There’s no cure for FH, but it’s manageable with medication.”

For more on David’s story, click here.


Life takes unexpected turns. Have you experienced anything like David, scared to death one moment and armed with answers the next? What did that experience show you? Discuss below.

James Ernest Cassady

James Ernest Cassady

Though "Ernest" is a family name that's been passed down for generations, James truly earned his middle moniker when, at the age of five, he told his mother that "laughing is stupid unless EVERYBODY is happy." Since then, the serious little bastard has been on a mission to highlight the world's shortcomings (and hopefully correct them). In addition to his volunteer work at hospitals and animal shelters, James also enjoys documentaries and the work of William Faulkner. He is originally from Oklahoma.

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