Milky-White Blood (Caused By Excess Fats In The Bloodstream)

EnolaGaia

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We have a thread about forensic clean-up chemicals possibly causing bloodstains to turn white, but I can find no mention of this rare condition that so saturates the blood with fatty compounds that it turns "milky white."
A Rare Genetic Disorder Turned These Siblings' Blood 'Milky' White

A rare genetic disorder caused three siblings' blood to flood with fat and turn "milky" white, according to a new report of the unusual case.

The three siblings consisted of one set of fraternal twins (a daughter and son) and an older son, all born to a first-cousin couple in a Pennsylvania Dutch family. In their teens and early 20s, all three siblings experienced mysterious symptoms, including bouts of abdominal pain. They had all been diagnosed with hypertriglyceridemia, a fairly common disorder that causes fatty molecules called triglycerides to build up in the blood.

Now in their 50s, the siblings recently underwent genetic testing and learned that they have a condition that's much more rare, affecting only 1 in every million people ...

Those with the ultrarare disorder, known as familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS), may accumulate more than 1,000 milligrams of triglycerides per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood. For comparison, normal blood levels of the fat should fall below 150 mg/dL, and 500 mg/dL would be considered "very high" in a healthy person, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Indeed, in people with FCS, blood fat levels are so high that the normally crimson fluid turns the color of milk. (FCS is not the only condition that can cause milk-colored blood; the symptom may also appear in people with severe hypertriglyceridemia.) ...

The three siblings had long struggled to keep their triglyceride levels under control and suffered frequent inflammation of the pancreas, also known as pancreatitis — a serious condition that can cause abdominal pain, fever and vomiting. At the hospital, the male twin's triglyceride levels reached as high as 5,000 mg/dL, while the other brother's levels peaked at around 6,000 mg/dL. The female twin's triglyceride levels soared highest of all, reaching 7,200 mg/dL at maximum. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/siblings-with-milky-blood.html
 

Kondoru

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Thats interesting.

When the Vikings went to Greenland, they described the natives as having white blood.

And what do people eat in cold climates?

Fat.
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's another instance of the condition - one in which modern treatments didn't work and doctors had to resort to old-school blood-letting to save the patient.

The most interesting aspect of this case may be the discovery of a situation in which blood-letting is actually justified.
A Man's Blood Was So Full of Fat, It Turned White And Almost Killed Him

A man in Germany had so much fat in his thickened, pale blood, it basically looked like milk, scientists report – and it could have killed him if doctors hadn't resorted to a long-abandoned treatment pioneered by ancient healers thousands of years ago.

In this case, the patient presented at hospital with what's known as extreme hypertriglyceridemia: a disease marked by high levels of fatty triglyceride molecules in the blood.

Ordinarily, doctors would treat this condition with a technique called plasmapheresis, which extracts blood plasma from the body, removes the excess triglycerides (or other toxic components), and returns the clean, filtered blood to the patient.

There was just one problem.

When doctors at the University Hospital of Cologne tried this approach with their 39-year-old patient, his extremely thick and fatty blood clogged their plasmapheresis machine. Twice.

When clinicians in the intensive care department hooked the man up to the hospital's plasmapheresis filter, his viscous, gluggy blood clogged up the equipment, and a second attempt became equally obstructed.

This bizarre case – something the researchers say they had never seen before – called for a different approach to somehow siphon the extreme and dangerous level of fat out of the man's blood. ...

With plasmapheresis not possible, the doctors turned to a much older and now discredited option – a virtually forgotten treatment that largely hasn't been practised in mainstream medicine since the 18th and 19th centuries: bloodletting.

This ancient technique, which intentionally withdraws blood volume from the body, can be traced back as far as Ancient Egypt some 3,000 years ago, and was once one of the most common forms of 'medical' operation. ...

In the intensive care unit, the doctors ended up withdrawing two litres of the man's blood, replacing it with a supply of red blood cell concentrates, fresh frozen plasma, and a physiologic saline solution.

Despite the horror stories you hear about bloodletting, the remedy worked, successfully lowering the patient's triglyceride levels, and by day five, he was free of residual neurologic symptoms.

What's more, his medical team say this strange, possibly unprecedented case, demonstrates how bloodletting might still fulfil a weird niche in 21st century medicine – when no other options are available. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/a-man-s-blood-was-so-full-of-fat-it-turned-white-and-almost-killed-him
 

brownmane

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Just wonder if his levels would again increase, thus requiring repeat bloodletting. I can't see that the process that causes the condition would be changed by simply bloodletting and transfusion.
 

EnolaGaia

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One of the passages I didn't quote from the news story linked above explains there were extenuating circumstances, but I'm still not sure the patient won't relapse.

... As for how the man had developed such an acute case, the researchers put it down to a number of related factors to do with his obesity, diet, insulin resistance, and a possible genetic predisposition – not to mention the fact that while he was on diabetes medication, he said he didn't always take it.

The doctors hypothesise that the patient's "cascade of events" could have been initially triggered by ketoacidosis, which had now developed into a particularly severe case - the virtually unresponsive man ranked just one point above a vegetative state on the Glasgow Coma Scale. ...
 
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