Secondary causes of dyslipidemia

Am J Cardiol. 2012 Sep 15;110(6):823-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.04.062. Epub 2012 Jun 2.


The causes of the lipid disorders in patients referred to specialty clinics for difficult-to-treat dyslipidemias are likely multifactorial. However, the importance of evaluating for secondary causes is unclear. The investigators performed a chart review of new patients referred to the University of Michigan Lipid Clinic from January 2004 to June 2011 (n = 824) to evaluate for the prevalence of several secondary causes of dyslipidemia. In addition to lipoproteins, new patients were assessed for secondary dyslipidemias by a standardized protocol consisting of laboratory testing, a nutritional evaluation, and medical history. These data were evaluated to determine the prevalence of several secondary causes of dyslipidemia. A total of 363 separate factors were identified in the 824 patients that were thought to be potential secondary causes of dyslipidemia. Because some patients (n = 83 [10%]) had multiple conditions, there were 230 (28% of the cohort) with ≥1 potential secondary dyslipidemias. The most common conditions were excessive alcohol intake (n = 82 [10%]), uncontrolled diabetes mellitus (n = 68 [8%]), and overt albuminuria. Although other causes occurred less frequently (each individually found in <5% of patients), altogether they were present in a substantial portion of patients (n = 102 [12%]). In conclusion, nearly 1/3 of patients referred to a specialty clinic had identifiable secondary conditions plausibly contributing to their dyslipidemia. Numerous disorders were identified, with diabetes mellitus and excessive alcohol being the most common.

MeSH terms

  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology
  • Dyslipidemias / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors