Triglycerides are a form of fat found in our bloodstream. The body makes use of them in order to produce energy. Your body requires some triglycerides to maintain sound health. But people with high triglycerides are at the risk of getting heart disease and may be indicate a metabolic syndrome which is the combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and excessive fat around the waist, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high triglycerides. Metabolic syndrome raises your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Triglycerides are basically….
Involved in the transmission of the fat, from one place to another.
Triglycerides are also the storage type of fat in nature, and are mainly derived from the fats that our body manufactures from too much intake of calorie, or from the fats we consume.
Maximum fat tissue of the body is a combination of triglycerides. However high blood triglyceride levels can cause heart disease –especially in women, and in those patients who are suffering from Type 2 diabetes.
High triglyceride symptoms are identified by the help of a simple blood test, when the person is also having his LDL cholesterol level checked by his physician. The desired number for triglycerides should be 150 or less.
Triglyceride levels get significantly influenced by diet.
Normal levels of cholesterol (a waxy substance found in our body cells and bloodstream) are essential to the body, as it facilitates the production of some hormones and cell membranes and other significant bodily functions. But excess of cholesterol in the blood (hypercholesterolemia) could cause a stroke or coronary heart disease (CHD), which could manifest in a heart attack.
Cholesterol and triglyceride are related to each other. High triglycerides levels often come with high total cholesterol and high LDL or Low-Density Lipoprotein (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and a reduced HDL or High-Density Lipoprotein (“good”) cholesterol level. When you aim to reduce your total cholesterol and LDL levels, you are also perhaps unknowingly reducing triglycerides.
Triglyceride Level Classification
- 150-199 mg/dLBorderline-high
- 200-499 mg/dLHigh
- 500 mg/dLVery high
|Less than 150 mg/dL||Normal|
What’s the difference between triglycerides and cholesterol?
Triglycerides and cholesterol are different kinds of lipids circulating in your blood. Triglycerides store remaining calories and boost your energy. Cholesterol plays a crucial role in building cells and certain hormones. As triglycerides and cholesterol can’t dissolve in blood, they flow throughout your body with the help of proteins that help transport the lipids such as, lipoproteins.
What causes high triglycerides?
High triglycerides are influenced by other conditions, such as:
- Poorly checked diabetes
- An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Kidney disease
- Regularly eating more calories than you burn
- Consuming lot of alcohol
Certain medicines may also raise triglycerides levels. The list includes:
- Birth control pills
- Age: As you age gradually, triglyceride levels also raise steadily.
- Heredity: The reason behind high triglycerides among individuals of the same family can be hereditary.
High Triglycerides – Symptoms
High triglycerides do not cause symptoms by themselves. If your high triglycerides are due to genetic condition, you may have noticeable fatty deposits under the skin called Xanthomas.
Rarely, people having very high triglyceride levels may experience inflammation of the pancreas, medically termed as pancreatitis, which may cause unexpected, severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and fever.
If your triglycerides level is very high, you are likely to get high cholesterol. In many cases, people are unaware of the fact that they have high triglycerides until they do a blood test called a lipoprotein analysis to check their cholesterol levels.
This can be very helpful in reducing blood triglyceride levels and are often the most preferable treatment for borderline high levels. Lifestyle changes and self-care measures that have been proved to be effective in reducing triglyceride levels are listed below:
- Weight loss
- Vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber and low in calories. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you check your weight and your blood pressure.
- Aerobic exercise on daily basis
- Checking intake of food with trans fats and saturated fats; replaced by polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats rather than carbohydrates or sugar
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Consuming fatty fish such ash mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon. These fishes are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- It is also imperative to control diabetes or other conditions that may be the primary reason of high triglycerides.
- Decrease in other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as quitting smoking, is also essential to lessen the risk of complications due to elevated blood lipid levels.
Lipid altering medications are used to cut down levels of undesirable blood lipids, such as LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and escalating blood levels of desirable lipids, such as HDL cholesterol. There are various types of lipid altering medications, but only some of these are effectual in reducing triglycerides.
HMG CoA reductase inhibitor medications (statins) are most effective in reducing LDL cholesterol, slightly effective in rising HDL cholesterol, and mildly effective in lowering triglycerides.
Fibric acid derivative medications such as gemfibrozil (Lopid) and fenofibrate (Tricor) are most useful in lowering the level of triglycerides, effective in increasing HDL, and slightly effective in lowering LDL levels.
Nicotinic acid (Niacin), known by the names Niacin, Niaspan, or Slo-Niacin, is most efficient in increasing HDL, effective in reducing triglycerides, and mildly to moderately effective in lowering LDL levels.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have also been effective to reduce triglyceride levels. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (especially fatty fish) at least two times (i.e. two servings) a week. If you have high triglyceride levels or other risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, your health care provider may suggest you to take omega-3 fatty acids in supplement (fish oil) form.