A Modern Approach to Dyslipidemia

Endocrine Reviews, Volume 43, Issue 4, August 2022, Pages 611–653.


Lipid disorders involving derangements in serum cholesterol, triglycerides, or both are commonly encountered in clinical practice and often have implications for cardiovascular risk and overall health. Recent advances in knowledge, recommendations, and treatment options have necessitated an updated approach to these disorders. Older classification schemes have outlived their usefulness, yielding to an approach based on the primary lipid disturbance identified on a routine lipid panel as a practical starting point. Although monogenic dyslipidemias exist and are important to identify, most individuals with lipid disorders have polygenic predisposition, often in the context of secondary factors such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. With regard to cardiovascular disease, elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is essentially causal, and clinical practice guidelines worldwide have recommended treatment thresholds and targets for this variable. Furthermore, recent studies have established elevated triglycerides as a cardiovascular risk factor, whereas depressed high-density lipoprotein cholesterol now appears less contributory than was previously believed. An updated approach to diagnosis and risk assessment may include measurement of secondary lipid variables such as apolipoprotein B and lipoprotein(a), together with selective use of genetic testing to diagnose rare monogenic dyslipidemias such as familial hypercholesterolemia or familial chylomicronemia syndrome. The ongoing development of new agents—especially antisense RNA and monoclonal antibodies—targeting dyslipidemias will provide additional management options, which in turn motivates discussion on how best to incorporate them into current treatment algorithms.