WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- In a medical case reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, blood drawn from a man was so thick with fat it turned a milky color.
- To save the man’s life, his blood had to be manually drawn out — a procedure known as bloodletting —by medical experts to save his life.
- Blood tests confirmed that the man from Germany had exceedingly high levels of a type of fat called triglycerides.
A 39-year-old man’s blood was found to be so thick with fat that it turned a milky color. To save his life, the doctors had to draw it manually — a practice known as bloodletting.
Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the man from Germany reportedly had gone to the emergency room after suffering from nausea, vomiting, headache, malaise and decreased alertness. According to the case report, the patient had diabetes and was on several medications to treat the condition However, he wasn’t taking his medications regularly. A doctor has seen him two days prior due to weight loss, vomiting and headaches.
Aside from diabetes, he also had a history of gallstones. The man lost consciousness in the hospital and had a breathing tube inserted to him.
After several blood tests, the man was found to have extremely high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat. Triglyceride levels below 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are what are considered within normal limits, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Levels above 500 mg/dL are considered “very high.” The German man’s triglyceride levels were found to be more than 14,000 mg/dL.
His condition is called hypertriglyceridemia.
Additional tests found the man had diabetic ketoacidosis — a dangerous complication of diabetes where the body breaks down fat, causing a build-up of acids in the blood. Hypertriglyceridemia also put the man at risk of pancreatitis as tests showed the patient had increased levels of pancreatic enzymes
Using a technique called plasmapheresis, the doctors attempted to remove the excess fat from his blood by using a machine. But the machine got clogged up with so much fat and could not be used. His doctors had to resort to doing it manually via “bloodletting.”
To reduce the levels of triglyceride in the man’s blood, they took a liter of blood and replaced it with blood cells and plasma. Finally, the man’s triglyceride levels decreased, enough for the machine to do its work without clogging.
There are other ways for people with hypertriglyceridemia to reduce the level of fat in their blood. It includes losing excess weight, quitting smoking, managing alcohol intake, cutting back on sugar and exercising daily.
Source: Live Science