Hyperlipoproteinemia: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

It is the plasma increase in the concentration of lipoproteins in the blood.

Hyperlipoproteinemia is a common disorder. It results from an inability to break down lipids or fats in your body, specifically cholesterol and triglycerides.

High cholesterol or triglyceride levels are severe because they are associated with heart problems.


There are several types of hyperlipoproteinemia. The classification depends on the concentration of lipids and which ones are affected.

Primary or familial hyperlipoproteinemia: According to the Fredrickson classification, familial hyperlipidemias are classified according to the lipoprotein pattern in electrophoresis or ultracentrifugation.

There are five types of primary hyperlipoproteinemia:

  • Type 1: It is an inherited condition. It causes the regular interruption of fats in your body to be interrupted. As a result, a large amount of fat accumulates in the blood. It usually presents in childhood with eruptive xanthoma and abdominal colic.
  • Type 2: It runs between families. It is characterized by increased circulating cholesterol, either low density lipoprotein (LDL) alone or very low density lipoprotein (VLDL). These are considered the “bad cholesterols.”
  • Type 3 is a hereditary recessive disorder in which intermediate-density lipoproteins (IDL) accumulate in the blood. The IDL has a higher cholesterol ratio to triglycerides than that VLDL. This disorder causes high plasma levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Type 4: It is a dominant hereditary disorder. It is characterized by high triglycerides contained in VLDL. The levels of cholesterol and phospholipids in your blood usually stay within normal limits.
  • Type 5: Also known as mixed hyperlipoproteinemia or mixed hyperlipidemia. It runs between families. It is very similar to type I but with high levels of VLDL in addition to chylomicrons.

Secondary or acquired hyperlipoproteinemia: Acquired hyperlipidemias (secondary dyslipoproteinemias) often mimic primary hyperlipidemia and may have similar consequences.



Hyperlipoproteinemia can be a primary or secondary condition.

Primary hyperlipoproteinemia is often genetic. It is the result of a defect or mutation in lipoproteins. These changes result in problems with the accumulation of lipids in your body.

Secondary hyperlipoproteinemia results from other health conditions that lead to high levels of lipids in your body. These include:

Symptoms of hyperlipoproteinemia

Lipid deposits are the main symptom of hyperlipoproteinemia. The location of lipid deposits can help determine the type. Some lipid deposits, called xanthomas, are yellow and crunchy. These occur on the skin.

Many people with this condition do not experience any symptoms. They can realize this when they develop a heart condition.

Other signs and symptoms of hyperlipoproteinemia include:

  • Pancreatitis (type 1).
  • Abdominal pain (types 1 and 5).
  • Enlarged liver or spleen (type 1).
  • Deposits of lipids or xanthomas (type 1).
  • Family history of heart disease (types 2 and 4).
  • Family history of diabetes (types 4 and 5).
  • Heart attack.


A doctor can diagnose hyperlipoproteinemia with a blood test. Sometimes, family history is helpful. If you have deposits of lipids in your body, your doctor will also examine them.

Other diagnostic tests can measure thyroid function, glucose, protein in the urine, liver function, and uric acid.


The treatment for hyperlipoproteinemia will depend on the type you have. The treatment will consider the underlying disorder when the condition results from hypothyroidism, diabetes, or pancreatitis.

Your doctor may prescribe medications such as the following to help reduce lipid levels:

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor).
  • Fluvastatina (Lescol XL).
  • Ppravastatina (Pravachol).
  • Ezetimibe (Zetia).

Specific lifestyle changes can also help with hyperlipoproteinemia. These include:

  • A diet low in fat.
  • Increase in exercise.
  • Weightloss.
  • The relief of stress.
  • A decrease in alcohol consumption.

Consult your doctor to determine what lifestyle changes are suitable for your condition.