Low triglycerides: Causes and symptoms

By: Devon Andre | Cholesterol | Thursday, November 03, 2016 - 11:30 AM

Low triglycerides: Causes and symptomsTo understand low triglycerides, it’s important to understand what triglycerides are in general. Triglycerides are a type of fat converted from any excess calories we do not immediately use.

Mainly derived from fat and carbohydrates we eat, triglyceride stocks are used for energy in-between the meals, but when we take in more than we burn, that’s when the problem arises.

Although cholesterol and fat are essential for the body, keeping your levels within the norm is imperative, as high levels increase the risk of serious health issues, especially cardiovascular ailments.

There are numerous reasons for a person to have low triglycerides, which we will explain further down. In order to determine your triglyceride levels, your doctor needs to perform a lipid panel test. If results show a low level of triglycerides but you do not experience any symptoms, no further investigation is usually required as your low levels are not affecting your health. But if you do present symptoms, your doctor will run further testing to determine the underlying cause.

Causes of low triglycerides

Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive thyroid. The thyroid gland overproduces hormones, leading to sudden weight loss, increase in appetite, sweating, menstrual changes, fatigue, and sleep problems, among other symptoms. A blood test can determine the level of hormones in your blood which could signify a thyroid problem.

Malnutrition: Disorders that contribute to improper absorption of nutrients can lead to malnutrition. Chronic malnutrition can deplete your body of fat, thus contributing to low triglycerides. Some causes of malnutrition include cancer, memory loss, depression, inability to eat, and trauma, to name a few.

Certain drugs: Certain medications and drugs can deplete fat, leading to low triglycerides. These drugs include nicotinic acid, statins, asparaginase, fenofibrate, gemifibrozil, and clofibrate.

Low-fat diet: Although a high-fat diet can increase triglyceride levels, a low-fat diet can keep them low. As mentioned, fat is essential for the human body to function, but eating the right amount of fat is key – not too much and not too little.

Malabsorption syndrome: In malabsorption syndrome, the body has a problem properly absorbing nutrients from ingested food. If fat cannot be absorbed, then triglyceride levels can become low.

Symptoms of low triglycerides

Both high and low triglyceride levels don’t necessarily produce direct symptoms, so you won’t necessarily feel any different as a result of high or low triglyceride levels.

Symptoms of low triglycerides are often associated with the underlying cause. For example, you will experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism, malnutrition, or malabsorption syndrome.

There are no direct symptoms associated with having triglyceride levels that are too low or too high, however, based on the cause of these varied levels, you may experience a variety of symptoms. Low triglycerides due to malnutrition can cause symptoms like lethargy, feeling cold, dry skin, brittle or sparse hair, muscle wasting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Low triglycerides caused by hyperthyroidism can be accompanied by a rapid heart rate, weight loss, anxiety, sweating, increased appetite, fatigue, tremors, and difficulty sleeping. Finally, low triglycerides resulting from malabsorption may be accompanied by symptoms such as poor growth, weight loss, and muscle wasting.

If you do experience symptoms related to these conditions, go see your doctor who can take a look at your blood work, review your symptoms, and detect a cause, so you can begin treatment.

Related: Foods that lower triglycerides naturally

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