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Familial combined hyperlipidemia


Definition:

Familial combined hyperlipidemia is a disorder of high cholesterol and high blood triglycerides that is inherited, which means it is passed down through families.

Alternative Names:

Multiple lipoprotein-type hyperlipidemia

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Familial combined hyperlipidemia is the most common genetic disorder of increased blood fats that causes early heart attacks. However, researchers have not yet identified the specific genes responsible.

Diabetes, alcoholism, and hypothyroidism make the condition worse. Risk factors include a family history of high cholesterol and early coronary artery disease.

Symptoms:

Chest pain (angina) may occur. However, there may not be any physical symptoms.

Persons with this condition develop high cholesterol or triglyceride levels during the teenage years. The levels remain high throughout life. They have an increased risk of early coronary artery disease and heart attacks. Those with familial combined hyperlipidemia have a higher rate of obesity and glucose intolerance.

Expectations (prognosis):

How well you do depends on how early the condition is diagnosed, when treatment is received, and whether you follow your treatment instructions. Without treatment, heart attack or stroke may cause early death.

Even with medicine, some people may continue to have high lipid levels that increase their risk of heart attack.

Complications:
  • Early atherosclerotic heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
Calling your health care provider:

Seek immediate medical care if you have chest pain or other warning signs of a heart attack.

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have a personal or family history of high cholesterol levels.

Prevention:

A low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat diet in high-risk individuals may help to control LDL levels.

If someone in your family has this condition, you may want to consider genetic screening for yourself or your children. Sometimes younger children may have mild hyperlipidemia.

It is important to control other risk factors for early heart attacks, such as smoking, if you have this disease.

References:

Genest J, Libby P. Lipoprotein disorders and cardiovascular disease. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA:Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 47.

Semenkovich, CF. Disorders of lipid metabolism. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 213.


Review Date: 6/4/2012
Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc. David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

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