Triglycerides are important to human life & are the main form of fat in the body. When you think of fat developing & being stored in your hips, or belly, you're thinking of triglycerides. They are the end product of digesting and breaking down fats in meals. Some triglycerides are made in the body from other energy sources such as carbohydrates. They are measured using a common test called a lipid panel. It's the same blood test that checks "good" and "bad" cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone over the age of 20 should get a lipid panel to measure cholesterol and triglycerides at least every five years. Triglyceride levels are checked after an overnight fast. Fat from a meal can artificially raise the triglyceride levels on the test.
Normal triglycerides means there are less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
Borderline high triglycerides = 150 to 199 mg/dL.
High triglycerides = 200 to 499 mg/dL.
Very high triglycerides = 500 mg/dL or higher.
High triglyceride levels may lead to heart disease, especially in people with low levels of "good" cholesterol and high levels of "bad" cholesterol, and in people with type 2 diabetes. Experts disagree, though, on just how bad of an effect high triglyceride levels by themselves have on the heart. Some of the confusion stems from the fact that high triglycerides have a tendency to appear with other risk factors. We do know that a low level of good cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. We also know that blood tests for triglycerides can show some variability. Many experts believe that high triglycerides may be a sign of other heart disease risk factors. That is, high triglyceride levels could multiply the bad effects of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Some research also suggests that high triglycerides are a more important risk factor for women than for men, although this is also disputed.
A healthy diet and exercise plan can lower triglyceride levels, improve cholesterol, and lower the risk of heart disease. The main way to deal with high triglyceride levels is by eating a healthier diet and getting more exercise.
Here are some guidelines to help you manage your triglyceride level :
- Moderate exercise on five, or more days each week can help lower triglyceride levels;
5%-10% of your weight can lower triglycerides. People with a healthy
weight are more likely to have normal triglyceride levels. Belly fat is
associated with higher levels;
- Reducing saturated fat, trans
fat & cholesterol in your diet can improve triglyceride levels &
help manage cholesterol. Eating less carbohydrates in your diet will
also help lower triglyceride levels;
- Drinking alcohol can raise
triglyceride levels. Some studies show that drinking more than one drink
a day for women, or two for men can raise triglyceride levels by a lot.
Some people with high triglycerides may need to cut out alcohol
- Eating more fish high in Omega-3, can lower
triglyceride levels. Fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines,
albacore tuna, and salmon are high in Omega-3. It may be hard to get
enough Omega-3 from food to help lower your triglycerides. Your doctor
may recommend a supplement, or prescription Omega-3.
- Fibrates, such as Lopid, Fibricor & Tricor;
- Nicotinic acid, also called Niaspan;
of Omega-3 are needed to lower triglycerides & should be taken only
under a doctor's care. Lovaza & Vascepa are prescription forms of Omega-3;
- By taking steps to improve your triglyceride levels,
you'll likely improve your overall health, fitness, cholesterol levels & risk for heart disease.