Mr. D.T.'s Story - There Is Hope


Medical Author: Dennis Lee, M.D.

I am sure many of you have been reminded by doctors, nurses, and public health officials to lose excess weight, quit smoking cigarettes, exercise regularly, and eat less saturated fat and sweets. Here is a real life example of how effective these measures can be.

Mr. DT is a healthy and active 50-year-old man. He exercises six days a week. He does not smoke cigarettes. He tries to hold down fat and cholesterol intake; he only cheats on weekends and holidays. He is slightly overweight (only 12 pounds heavier than ideal body weight). His mild high blood pressure has been well controlled with an oral medication called an ACE inhibitor. There is no family history of any heart disease.

Last week, he asked his doctor for a complete blood panel that includes cholesterol and triglyceride levels, since he has not had one for more than a year. The nurse who drew his blood first noticed there was something wrong; Mr. DT's serum was abnormally discolored. Before performing blood chemistry measurements, she had to spin the blood sample in a centrifuge to separate the red and white blood cells from the serum. Normal serum is clear yellow in color. But Mr. DT's serum was pink and milky. Milky serum indicates excess chylomicrons (protein complexes that contain high amounts of triglycerides and cholesterol).