How does hypocholesterolemia happen?
Compared to hypercholesterolemia, not much research has been done on low cholesterol. Before we can talk about the treatment of hypocholesterolemia, it is important to know the possible causes. Very low cholesterol seems to be an issue for patients who are critically ill or have a genetic mutation of LDL-C. Secondary or acquired causes of low cholesterol include cancer, severe anemia or blood loss, hyperthyroidism, and malnutrition.
Genetic problems are fairly rare. Therefore, doctors only consider these when there is family history and other causes are ruled out. Genetic abnormality is determined by conducting a full patient history, physical exam, and lipid profile.
Treatment of hypocholesterolemia
After doing a lipid panel to determine the amount of LDL, HDL, and triglycerides, low cholesterol can be spotted. Your doctor will conduct a complete physical exam and patient interview to determine possible causes.
Low cholesterol due to cancer or chronic malnutrition typically requires supplemental feeding. Appetite stimulants may be given to encourage eating. Blood transfusion along with supplementation are necessary for severe blood loss and anemia.
Patients with genetic mutations such as familial hypobetalipoproteinemia may have steatorrhea (oily stools), trouble absorbing vitamins A, D, E, and K, and depression. Limiting dietary fat and taking fat-soluble vitamin supplements can reduce symptoms and nutritional deficiency. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for these genetic abnormalities.