High cholesterol is a result of both genetic and environmental factors, according to the National Institutes of Health. Those who have an inherited form of high cholesterol have a malfunctioning gene that does not produce LDL receptors, Harvard Health Publications states.
In 2015, more than 34 million American adults have high cholesterol, states the National Institutes of Health. About one in 500 people have the most common inherited form of high cholesterol. Individuals with the disease pass it on to about half of their children, according to Harvard Health Publications. If both parents have high cholesterol, a child has a 25 percent chance of inheriting the defective gene from both parents, explains Better Health Channel. This form is resistant to treatment.