Triglycerides

Why are triglyceride levels important to monitor and manage?

High triglyceride levels especially in women are an indicator for heart disease and strokes. High triglycerides in women may be more predictive of potential cardiovascular disease than high LDL cholesterol. Triglycerides are tested as part of a typical cholesterol screening by your Doctor during routine medical examinations.

What are triglycerides?

Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists in food as well as in the body.

Triglycerides in plasma come from the fats in foods or made from other energy sources like carbohydrates. Calories not used immediately are converted to triglycerides and transported to fat cells for storage. Hormones regulate the release of triglycerides from fat tissue to meet the body’s needs for energy.

What are Blood Lipid Levels

Triglycerides and cholesterol together in your blood plasma make up your blood plasma lipid levels. If your doctor tells you about your blood lipid levels, they are talking about cholesterol and triglycerides.

How are high triglyceride levels harmful?

Excess triglycerides in plasma is called hypertriglyceridemia. It can be linked to the risk of coronary artery disease in some people. Elevated triglyceride levels may be influenced by other diseases such as untreated diabetes mellitus. Like cholesterol, increases in triglyceride levels can be detected by plasma measurements. For more accurate results, these tests should be done after a night and morning of fasting. Sugar intake may affect results, so water only intake is the most preferred type of fasting.

Triglyceride Levels

Normal Less than 150 mg/dL
Borderline-high 150 to 199 mg/dL
High 200 to 499 mg/dL
Very high 500 mg/dL or higher

*Based on fasting plasma triglyceride levels as indicated by the National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines for triglycerides.

Lowering Your Triglycerides

Various life style changes can help lower high triglyceride levels.

Weight

If you are overweight, cut down on calories to reach your ideal body weight. This includes all sources of calories (fats, proteins, carbohydrates and alcohol).

Reduce saturated fat, trans fat and the cholesterol content of your diet.

Alcohol

Reduce intake of alcohol. Even small amounts of alcohol can lead to large changes in triglyceride levels.

Food

Eat vegetables, fruits, and nonfat or low-fat dairy products most often.

Exercise

Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on five or more days each week.

Substitute fish high in omega-3 fatty acids instead of meats high in saturated fat like hamburger. Fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Smoking

Stop Smoking! Tobacco smoke is a major risk factor of heart disease and stroke. Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol levels, increases triglyceride levels, damages the lining of blood vessels and increases the risk of forming a dangerous blood clot.

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