Display Mode:

    Main content

    Health Information

    Familial Lipid Disorders

    Familial Lipid Disorders

    Skip to the navigation

    Topic Overview

    A familial lipid disorder is a condition that runs in families. It causes very high levels of cholesterol . This condition can cause a person to get coronary artery disease (CAD) while still young.

    Because familial lipid disorders are rare, your doctor may only suspect one if you have:

    • Very high cholesterol levels. For example, LDL cholesterol might be over 190 mg/dL. Total cholesterol might be over 300 mg/dL.
    • A family history of high cholesterol .
    • A family history of early CAD.
    • Certain results from a physical exam. These results include xanthomas, a skin condition in which small bumps of fat appear under the skin.

    Your family doctor may not have much experience with familial lipid disorders, so you may have to see a specialist, such as an endocrinologist. And some cardiologists specialize in lipid disorders as well as heart problems.

    Types of familial lipid disorders

    There are different types of lipid disorders. They include:

    • Familial combined hyperlipidemia (FCHL)
    • Familial defective apolipoprotein B-100
      • High total cholesterol (such as 350 to 550 mg/dL)
    • Familial dysbetalipoproteinemia (type 3 hyperlipoproteinemia)
      • High total cholesterol and high triglyceride levels (from 300 to 1,000 mg/dL)
    • Familial hypertriglyceridemia
      • Very high triglycerides (such as 200 to 500 mg/dL)
    • Heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia
      • High total cholesterol (such as 350 to 550 mg/dL)

    Related Information


    Other Works Consulted

    • Genest J (2015). Lipoprotein disorders and cardiovascular disease. In DL Mann et al., eds., Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 10th ed., pp. 980-1000. Philadelphia: Saunders.


    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
    E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
    Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
    Specialist Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine

    Current as ofDecember 21, 2016

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

    © 1995-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.