is the main type of fat transported by your
body. The fat gets its name from its
are a normal component in your bloodstream.
After you eat, your body digests the fats in
your food and releases triglycerides into
your bloodstream. They are transported
throughout your body to give you energy or
to be stored as fat.
also produces triglycerides and changes some
into cholesterol. Your liver can change any
source of excess calories into
What is a normal
levels vary with age. They also depend on
how recently you have eaten before the test.
The measurements will be most accurate if
you haven't eaten in the last 12 hours or
so. Generally, an acceptable triglyceride
level is 150 mg/dL or less. Triglycerides
rarely reach extremely high levels, except
in people with an inherited tendency toward
triglycerides associated with
When you eat,
triglycerides combine with a protein in your
blood to form what is called high-density
and low-density lipoproteins. These
lipoprotein particles contain cholesterol.
triglycerides made in your liver, the
process is similar. Your liver gathers
carbohydrates and protein left over from a
meal and changes them to fat. This fat then
combines with protein and cholesterol to
form very low-density lipoproteins, which
are released into your bloodstream.
What are the risks
of high triglyceride levels?
cholesterol is normal, an elevated
triglyceride level does not appear to be a
risk factor for heart disease. Elevated
triglyceride levels, however, have been
associated with diabetes and pancreatitis
(inflammation of the pancreas).
What causes high
triglyceride levels may have several causes:
Triglyceride levels usually increase as
your weight increases.
especially from sugar and alcohol.
Alcohol increases your liver's
production of triglycerides and reduces
the amount of fat cleared from your
levels steadily increase as you grow
Certain drugscan cause triglyceride
levels to rise.
conditions associated with high
triglyceride levels are diabetes,
hypothyroidism, kidney disease, and
forms of high triglycerides occur among
members of the same families.
How is it
blood test can diagnose high triglyceride
levels. Your doctor will ask you not to eat
for about 12 to 14 hours before your blood
is taken. This allows the triglycerides from
your food to be completely eliminated. Your
doctor wants to know only the amount of
triglycerides being made by your body, not
what is produced by eating.
How is it treated?
elevated triglyceride levels includes the
Lose weight. Weight
loss alone often will lower your
exercise makes weight loss quicker and
Eat less sugar and
sugar-containing foods. Instead of
sweetened fruit juices, use fresh
unsweetened fruit or unsweetened fruit
juice. Instead of putting sugar in your
coffee, use an artificial sweetener.
Drink less alcohol.
Some people are very sensitive to
alcohol's ability to increase the
liver's production of triglycerides.
Limit fat to less
than 30% of your daily calories.
lifestyle changes don't lower your
triglyceride levels, your doctor may
prescribe medication to lower your
Fish oil also
has been found to reduce triglycerides. Two
or three meals of fish such as salmon or
mackerel every week may help lower your
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