Hyperlipoproteinemia type 3 is a hyperlipoproteinemia. Hyperlipoproteinemia disorders are characterized by the inability to break down fat molecules called lipids. Hyperlipoproteinemia type 3 is characterized by high levels of fats, mainly triglycerides and cholesterol. Fats play an important role helping our body work properly. Similar to how oil and water do not mix, triglycerides and cholesterol do not mix well with our blood. To help these fats travel through our blood, we have proteins called lipoproteins. Chylomicrons are lipoproteins that help triglycerides travel through the blood. IDL is a lipoprotein that helps cholesterol travel through the blood.
People with hyperlipoproteinemia type 3 have high triglyceride and IDL levels. Hyperlipoproteinemia type 3 usually occurs after adulthood. It is more common in men than women.
Many people with hyperlipoproteinemia type 3 experience no symptoms. It commonly goes undetected for decades until a heart condition or stroke develops. Visible symptoms include yellowish bumps on or below the skin, mostly on the hands. These bumps may also occur on the elbows, knees, knuckles, and legs. Fats may build up in the blood, causing heart disease. Individuals may develop pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas, an organ important in digestion.
Hyperlipoproteinemia type 3 can be diagnosed with a blood test. A doctor may also use family history to help make a diagnosis.
The most common treatment for hyperlipoproteinemia type 3 is to make lifestyle changes. This means eating a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and increasing exercise. If changing diet does not work, there are medications that are available. The yellowish bumps on the skin can typically be removed by surgery. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with hyperlipoproteinemia type 3, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options.
Description Last Updated: Feb 25, 2018