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Lipid service


Coronavirus: diabetes and endocrinology service update

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please read our advice and information before attending the service.

About lipids

Lipids are fatty particles transported in the blood, made up of substances such as cholesterol and triglycerides. Lipid disorders occur when you have too many or too few of these particles in your blood stream. They are associated with a number of health conditions, including cholesterol build-up in the artery walls and the process of artery narrowing (atherosclerosis) which can lead to:

  • heart attacks (myocardial infarction)
  • stroke
  • leg artery narrowing (peripheral arterial disease).

Our service

Our lipid service cares for patients a full range of lipid disorders associated with diabetes, endocrine disorders and other conditions that can lead to an increased risk of atherosclerosis. We also care for adult patients with inborn errors of metabolism.

We have close links with local medical practices and clinics, charities with an interest in lipid disorders (such as HEART-UK) and patient groups.

How to get an appointment

Your doctor will refer you to our service. For more information about making a referral, please see the diabetes and endocrinology referrals page.

Lipid disorders

  • Familial hypercholesterolaemia

    Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) occurs in at least one in 500 people and is caused by inherited defects in the pathways for clearing lipid particles.

    It’s associated with early atherosclerosis and premature coronary heart disease. It is usually inherited and carriers have a one in two chance of passing the gene defect on to the next generation. 

    Clinical services for familial hypercholesterolaemia include specialist assessment for typical signs of FH such as:

    • tendon xanthoma
    • personal and family screening for high lipid particles in the blood (hyperlipidaemia)
    • imaging of atherosclerosis and genetic testing for the condition.

    Clinical services for children with FH are provided by the inherited metabolic disease service at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

  • Familial combined hyperlipidaemia (FCHL)

    Familial combined hyperlipidaemia is an inherited disorder occurring in one in 300 people.

    It is associated with the presence of high cholesterol and/or triglycerides.

    It is inherited and families can be screened as adults. 

    Clinical services for FCHL include specialist assessment for typical clinical signs such as:

    • xanthelasma (lumps of fat around the eyes)
    • personal and family screening for hyperlipidaemia
    • imaging for atherosclerosis.
  • Familial chylomicronaemia/lipoprotein lipase deficiency

    Familial chylomicronaemia (FCM) or lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPLD) is a rare disorder associated with very high levels of blood fats. Blood samples from people with the disorder often appear milky.

    It occurs in one in 50,000 people and is caused by defects in the triglyceride clearance pathways by affecting the activity of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL).

    It can cause disease of the pancreas (pancreatitis) and is associated with abdominal pain, Type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis.

    Clinical services for FCM/LPLD include specialist assessment for typical clinical signs such as:

    • eruptive xanthomata (small lumps of fat on the skin at the elbows or on the abdomen)
    • personal and family screening for hyperlipidaemia
    • genetic testing for the defects in the triglyceride-clearance pathways.

Our team

Below is a list of staff you might meet when you come for your appointment.



Guy's Hospital
Diabetic day case unit tel: 020 7188 1916