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Familial dysbetalipoproteinemia

Type III hyperlipoproteinemia; Deficient or defective apolipoprotein E

Familial dysbetalipoproteinemia is a disorder passed down through families. It causes high amounts of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

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Coronary artery disease

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Causes

A genetic defect causes this condition. The defect results in the buildup of large lipoprotein particles that contain both cholesterol and a type of fat called triglycerides. The disease is linked to defects in the gene for apolipoprotein E in many cases.

Hypothyroidism, obesity, or diabetes can make the condition worse. Risk factors for familial dysbetalipoproteinemia include a family history of the disorder or coronary artery disease.

Symptoms

Symptoms may not be seen until age 20 or older.

Yellow deposits of fatty material in the skin called xanthomas may appear on the eyelids, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, or on the tendons of the knees and elbows.

Other symptoms may include:

Exams and Tests

Tests that may be done to diagnose this condition include:

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to control conditions such as obesity, hypothyroidism, and diabetes.

Making diet changes to reduce calories, saturated fats, and cholesterol may help lower blood cholesterol.

If cholesterol and triglyceride levels are still high after you have made diet changes, your doctor may have you take medicines as well. Medicine to lower blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels include:

Outlook (Prognosis)

People with this condition have an increased risk for coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease.

With treatment, most people are able to greatly reduce their lipid levels.

Possible Complications


When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have been diagnosed with this disorder and:

Prevention

Screening the family members of people with this condition may lead to early detection and treatment.

Getting treated early and limiting other risk factors such as smoking can help prevent early heart attacks, strokes, and blocked blood vessels.

Related Information

Hardening of the arteries
Stable angina
Peripheral artery disease - legs
Hypothyroidism
Overweight
Diabetes
Heart attack

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: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 47.

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

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Review Date: 5/20/2014  

Reviewed By: Larry A. Weinrauch MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Cardiovascular Disease and Clinical Outcomes Research, Watertown, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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