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Hypertriglyceridemia : Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Monday, August 13th 2012. | Digestive System, Disease

Hypertriglyceridemia Definition

Hypertriglyceridemia is an accumulation of substances called lipoproteins rich in triglycerides. Triglycerides are lipid molecules which result from the fixing on a fatty acid glycerol molecule. They are formed in the intestine from lipids from the diet and in the liver from excess sugar from the diet. They are one of the main energy sources of the organism.

As triglycerides are hydrophobic molecules are insoluble in water, they are always associated with substances, lipoproteins, which provide transportation.

These lipoproteins are of two types: chylomicrons and VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoproteins or very low density lipoprotein).Hypertriglyceridemia is associated with an increased rate of chylomicrons or VLDL.

Hypertriglyceridemia occurs when lipoproteins are present in large quantities. This excess may be due to an increased production lipoparticles, with increased intake of fat and sugar or failure of treatment of chylomicrons or VLDL.


Hypertriglyceridemia (img thanks to hypertriglyceridemia.net)

Hypertriglyceridemia Causes

Among the main causes of hypertriglyceridemia and those primitived those

It can be hereditary (primitive). We find an abnormally high triglyceride levels in familial combined hyperlipidemia, in the family deficit in lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme for the degradation of lipoproteins or in monogenic familial hypertriglyceridemia. These are very rare hypertriglyceridemia.

Hypertriglyceridemia may be secondary to:

Hypertriglyceridemia Causes

During digestion, the intestinal cells capture dietary lipids and secrete molecules called chylomycrons which are triglyceride-rich lipoproteins food. These chylomicrons then reach the bloodstream. The liver, it secretes VLDL, triglyceride-rich lipoproteins produced from endogenous glucose.

There is a system of degradation and VLDL chylomycrons. The fatty acids thus released are used by tissues for energy or stored in fat cells (adipocytes) as a reserve. Triglycerides are therefore essential for the proper functioning of the body.They also serve to transport in the blood of vitamins (A, D, E and K).

Hypertriglyceridemia results from the accumulation of chylomycrons (normally absent when the person is fasting) or VLDL, either because lipoproteins are produced in excess, either because they are not sufficiently degraded.

Hypertriglyceridemia Symptoms

The symptoms are only felt when hypertriglyceridemia is important. A person who submits a triglyceride level too high feel pain in the abdomen after meals (rare form). Sometimes, it can also observe the appearance of small blisters on the skin yellow in the buttocks, abdomen, knees and elbows. This is an eruptive xanthomatosis. The eyelids may also be affected. These plates are called yellow xanthelasma.

Gout attacks, manifested by severe pain, usually in the big toe, can also occur. Pain in the hip can reveal the presence of aseptic necrosis of the femoral head.

Hypertriglyceridemia affects nerves and can cause peripheral neuropathy and impaired memory.

In a fundus, the ophthalmologist detects the presence of lipids in the retina.

Hypertriglyceridemia Complication

Hypertriglyceridemia, in severe cases with very high rates, may be the cause of hepatosplenomegaly, namely an increase in volume of the liver and spleen due to the accumulation of triglycerides.

 But the major complication is inflammation and a rapid destruction of the pancreas (pancreatitis) which may be fatal if untreated.

When hypertriglyceridemia is associated with hypercholesterolemia, there is a risk of atherosclerosis, that is to say of lipid deposits (atheroma) in the artery walls. Atherosclerosis is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Hypertriglyceridemia Diagnosis

The doctor prescribes a dose lipid (EAL Exploration for a lipid abnormality) to fasting.

The increase in triglycerides in the blood is defined by a rate greater than two grams per liter (2.3 mmol / L) and serum opalescent, that is to say a bit murky, reflecting overload triglycerides.

This reference rate fell to 1.5 g / l in diabetics, women (especially when taking estrogen plus progestin) and those with a history of coronary and / or have other risk factors.

Hypertriglyceridemia is proven after several assays: triglycerides vary from day to day depending on weight, diet, alcohol consumption, age …

As hypertriglyceridemia may be secondary to a disease or taking medication, additional tests can highlight or exclude these causes.

Hypertriglyceridemia Treatment

The treatment is first and then diet drug.

With the exception of those associated with some primitive forms, any increase in blood triglyceride levels did not cause the medication.

The first phase of treatment is diet (see “How to act on hypertriglyceridemia?” ). This is followed by a new lipid control. The triglycerides are much more dependent than cholesterol diet.For blood tests that reflect the reality, this is not to change their eating habits in the days before the blood test.

Moreover, if a disease is the cause of hypertriglyceridemia, treatment may be sufficient to correct the elevated blood triglycerides.

If dietary measures fail or if the triglyceride is greater than 4 grams per liter (4.6 mmol per liter), drug therapy is necessary to lower triglycerides to reduce the risk of acute pancreatitis.The drugs used are the fibrates.

Other drugs may be prescribed in addition to diet hard: omega-3 polyunsaturated citrate and betaine.

How to act?

Dietary and lifestyle measures are effective.

To lower triglycerides, the main measure is dietary. As triglycerides are manufactured by the liver from sugar and alcohol and a high level of triglycerides in the blood is often associated with overweight and eating too much sugar or alcohol, must be respected rule: less weight, less sugar, less alcohol. A strict one month alone can enable a normalization of triglyceride levels. 

Weight loss, even moderate, may be sufficient to normalize triglycerides. This is why physical activity, which can consume the energy stored as triglycerides in adipose tissue, helps to lower triglycerides. Besides exercise, a low fat diet should be initiated. These are moderate consumption of animal fats: meats, butter, cheese, fatty meats … should prefer fish to meat because fatty fish provide good fats that lower triglycerides.

To reduce sugar intake should be reduced drastically sugars such as jam, chocolate, soft drinks or confectionery. The fruits are allowed at a rate of two a day maximum. Starchy foods should be made in limited quantities.

As for alcohol (wine, cider, beer, aperitifs, liqueurs), it is essential to reduce – or even stop – consumption for lower triglycerides.

What Specialty Concerned?

Endocrinology and Metabolism

Medical specialty that studies the function, diseases and ways to treat the endocrine glands (those that produce hormones) and metabolism (all body functions essential to life as, for example, production and glucose utilization ).Hormones are substances that are transported by the bloodstream and affect various organs and testosterone produced by the testes acts on the bone, skin, fat tissue.Many metabolic functions (blood sugar regulation, serum calcium …) are dependent on hormones.

Any malfunction of the endocrine glands (hyperfunction or hypofunction) or of the receiver (“sensitive”) to a hormone (skin and hair for male and female hormones, for example) will result in disorders (more or less severe) or endocrine disease.

The hormonal imbalance are varied: poor growth, weight loss or, conversely, weight gain, obesity, diabetes, abnormal lipid regulation, infertility, problems of rules .


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