What are the GI symptoms of hypertriglyceridemia (high triglyceride levels)?

Updated: Jul 23, 2021
  • Author: Mary Ellen T Sweeney, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Hypertriglyceridemia is usually asymptomatic until triglycerides are greater than 1000-2000 mg/dL. Patients may report pain, which is commonly mid epigastric but may occur in other regions, including the chest or back.

A history of recurrent episodes of acute pancreatitis is common in patients with severe and uncontrolled hypertriglyceridemia. [40] Triglyceride levels often exceed 5000 mg/dL at the onset of pancreatitis.

A study by Vipperla et al indicated that in patients with hypertriglyceridemia-related acute pancreatitis, secondary risk factors, including diabetes, high-risk drinking, obesity, and specific medications, are highly prevalent, with at least one secondary risk factor occurring in 78% of the study’s patients. [41]

Patients with recurrent episodes of abdominal pain that is less severe than acute pancreatitis may experience the chylomicronemia syndrome. [42] Affected patients usually have triglyceride elevations greater than 2000 mg/dL at the onset of symptoms and provide a history of recurrent episodes of abdominal pain, sometimes with nausea, vomiting, or dyspnea. Pancreatitis is not necessarily present. The presentation of hyperchylomicronemia may be confused with conditions such as acute myocardial syndromes or biliary colic


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