Nearly a third of respondents were unaware that high cholesterol could be inherited, the most common form of which is Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH), while only 38% knew that two thirds of the population have cholesterol above the recommended level of 5mmol/L.
Jules Payne said: “HEART UK is extremely concerned that so many people across the UK are still unaware of the prevalence of raised cholesterol or that it can be passed on through families.
“More must be done to ensure that everyone in the UK is aware of the risks associated with raised cholesterol. Heart disease is still the biggest killer in the UK and unhealthy cholesterol the greatest modifiable contributor to heart disease.
To prevent early heart disease HEART UK recommends that adults should have a medical check-up with their doctor every five years, eat a healthy diet, stop smoking and be more physically active.
More than 120,000 people in Britain have a form of inherited high cholesterol called FH which can cause premature death in those as young as 30, with only 15% aware that they have the condition.
HEART UK is the UK's only cholesterol charity, dedicated to providing support for people with inherited and non-inherited high cholesterol. They also work with governing bodies and medical stakeholders to develop better methods of detection and treatment for cholesterol-
HEART UK conducted a survey between August 23 and September 10 2012, with 455 respondents taking part.