What Are The Different Triglyceride Levels
Triglycerides are a common fat in the bloodstream. They are a normal part of the blood and important for the body.
It is only when levels get abnormally high that a person may be at risk of negative health effects.
Testing reveals the triglyceride levels in the blood. As triglyceride levels increase, they fall into the following categories:
- Moderate hypertriglyceridemia: 150499 mg/dl
- Severe hypertriglyceridemia: 500 mg/dl or more
- Very severehypertriglyceridemia: 880 mg/dl or more
Desirable fasting levels of triglycerides are less than 150 mg/dl.
Triglyceride screening is typically just one part of a lipid profile blood test. The test will also check the levels of:
- total cholesterol
- low-density lipoprotein , or bad, cholesterol
- high-density lipoprotein , or good, cholesterol
Doctors may make specific recommendations ahead of the test. For example, they might ask the person to fast for
The ideal frequency of testing will depend on a persons age and other cardiovascular risk factors.
The recommend that adults undergo a cholesterol test every 46 years. The standard cholesterol test or lipid profile will measure triglyceride levels.
The test is simple and requires taking blood to test its contents.
The person may need to fast before the test. Fasting helps avoid the natural rise in triglyceride levels that happens right after a meal, giving the doctor a better idea of baseline levels.
High Triglycerides And Cholesterol: What Is The Difference
Your body needs a certain amount of fat to help promote its cell structure and metabolic function. The term fat is broad and refers to multiple different forms that your body creates or receives from food. Triglycerides are one form that your body produces to store excess energy from your diet. The term cholesterol is broad and used to describe a type of fat floating around in your bloodstream these include HDL and LDL. Cholesterol is produced by the body but it can also be derived from food. It is used for cell and hormone production.
When a person has high levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, combined with high levels of triglycerides, the chances of plaque formation in their arteries increases, increasing their risk of atherosclerosis .
Not all cholesterol is bad, however, as HDL, or good cholesterol, helps to keep cholesterol from building up inside your arteries and transports it to the liver instead, where it can be expelled from the body.
You need balanced levels of both cholesterol and triglycerides to maintain good cardiovascular health.
Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Limiting the amount of alcohol that you consume can help keep your heartand triglyceride levelshealthy. Studies have shown that alcohol can adversely affect your lipids in incremental amounts, so it is suggested that you limit your alcohol to one drink per day if you are assigned female at birth, or two drinks per day if you are assigned male at birth.
Experts suggest that the relationship between alcohol and triglyceride levels is related to alcohol’s effect on the pancreas and liver.
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Eating Too Many High Carbohydrate Rich Foods
Itâs no secret that eating a healthy diet is vital for maintaining overall health. However, you may not know that consuming too many high carbohydrate foods can cause your triglyceride levels to spike. When you consume too many carbohydrates , you need to find a way to store this excess energy. Your body converts the sugar to fatty acids and forms triglycerides. And, as we mentioned before, these triglycerides are then transported through the bloodstream to be stored in fat cells.
So, if youâre looking to keep your triglyceride levels in check, itâs essential to watch your carbohydrate intake. Next time youâre grocery shopping, stock up on healthy protein and low-carbohydrate foods like fruits and vegetables!
Diets High In Calories Carbs And Fats
Triglyceride levels increase with a positive energy-intake balance . In other words, when you eat more than your body needs, the surplus is transformed into fat, including triglycerides. Its easier to overeat when your diet is high in calories and contains lots of carbs and saturated fats .
Low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets are among the most common causes of high triglycerides. But wait we said that high-fat diets are bad, so doesnt that mean a low-fat diet should be beneficial? Not quite .
Saturated, unhealthy fats are bad. But your body needs healthy fats such as those found in olive oil and fish oil to keep your triglyceride levels normal and to maintain your overall health. If you dont get enough dietary fats, your body will revert to transforming the sugars you consume into fats .
This goes against the popular but unfounded belief that your body wont store fat as long as you dont eat fats. In truth, high-carbohydrate diets can be much worse than high-fat diets for your triglyceride levels. Many scientists advocate that high-carb, low-fat diets likely also contributed to the obesity epidemic in America over the past few decades .
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When To Seek Medical Advice
A high triglyceride level often does not produce any symptoms, so this condition is usually diagnosed during routine blood tests including a lipid panel.
If the patient does not have any medical conditions or bad lifestyle choices, then the doctor usually orders a lipid panel to be done every few years to assess the triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
If the triglyceride levels are detected above the normal range in the lipid panel, then the doctor will usually recommend lifestyle changes, such as exercise and diet as the first line of treatment for hypertriglyceridemia. If diet and exercise are not effective in lowering the high triglycerides, then medications, such as fibrates or statins are prescribed.
Additional File : Figure S1
Flow chart of subject selection for the present study. Figure S2. TG levels and the time to onset for T2DM. Table S1. Baseline characteristics of subjects in CHARLS. Table S2. Baseline characteristics of subjects in Tianjin General Hospital Cohort from 20142018. Table S3. Hazard ratios of TG levels for T2DM in the Tianjin General Hospital Cohort.
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Diabetes + High Triglycerides = High Risk For Heart Disease
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce insulin, a hormone the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. Glucose is a simple sugar used for energy which is created by the bodyspecifically the pancreasby breaking down the sugars and starches that are consumed.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood that is used for energy in between meals, created from extra calories. If more calories are consumed than are burned on regular basis, an excess of triglycerides may be stored, causing hypertriglyceridemia .
According to the Mayo Clinic, high triglycerides are often a symptom of obesity and metabolic syndrome and a sign of poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism, liver or kidney disease, or rare genetic conditions. They can also be a side effect of taking beta blockers, birth control pills, diuretics, or steroids.
Having high triglycerides does not cause diabetes. However, having them increases the likelihood of developing diabetes. And both diabetes and high triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease which can lead to heart attack or stroke, so having both compound that risk.
While diabetes has several warning signs and symptoms, high triglycerides usually do not. Thats why its important to have them checked as part of a cholesterol test or lipid panel blood test that requires fasting. Per the Mayo Clinic results are categorized as follows:
Treatment Options For High Triglycerides
Having high triglycerides can raise serious health concerns, so its important to boost HDL cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels. Here are some tips in order to lower triglycerides.
- Lose weight.
- Cut out sugar the American Heart Association recommends only five percent of your daily calories come from added sugar.
- Increase your fiber intake.
- Limit fructose fructose is a type of sugar that can contribute to high triglyceride levels.
- Eat a moderately low-fat diet a moderately low-fat diet has been shown to be more effective at lowering triglyceride levels, compared to a strict low-fat diet. The AHA recommends that 25 to 35 percent of your daily calories should come from fat.
- Be mindful of the fat you eat there are good fats and bad fats. Avoid saturated and trans fats, and consume more monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat typically found in olive oil, for example.
- Increase your fish intake try salmon and sardines.
- Take triglyceride-lowering drugs if necessary and recommended by your doctor.
- Quit smoking.
- Control diabetes if you have it.
By following these tips and working close with your doctor, you can have much success in lowering your triglyceride levels and protecting your heart.
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How Are Triglycerides Different From Cholesterol
Triglycerides and cholesterol are both fatty substances called lipids. But triglycerides are fats cholesterol is not. Cholesterol is a waxy, odorless substance made by the liver. It is used to build cell walls, helps the nervous system and plays an important role in digestion and hormone production.
What Should Your Triglycerides Be If You Have Diabetes
The hyper limit is 150 to 199 mg/dL. High is considered 200 to 499 mg/dL. Very High is greater than 500 mg/dL. High levels of triglycerides can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and nerve damage. There is a link between chronically high triglyceride levels and atherosclerosis, as well as insulin resistance. 3
What happens to your triglycerides if you lose weight?
If you lose as little as 5-10% of your body weight, your triglycerides can drop by as much as 20%. This article was adapted from Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor.
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How Often The Triglyceride Level Should Be Tested
According to The American Heart Association, individuals over the age of 20 years should get tested for their triglycerides level about every 4 to 6 years. Testing the levels of triglycerides also depends on your health and can be done more often depending on the doctorâs advice. Children between the ages of 9 and 11 should be checked once and children between the ages of 17 and 21 should also check their triglyceride levels at least once between these ages.
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Diabetes Prevention Programs For Pre
Diabetes Prevention Programs have popped up all around the country. These programs are geared toward achieving weight loss, nutritional, and activity goals in order to prevent Type 2 diabetes later on. The Centers for Disease Control has a model of Diabetes Prevention Programs , and organizations such as the YMCA and others have started to bring these programs to communities. Some insurers have hopped on board with providing these programs, and scholarships are also available in some areas. Check with your individual insurance carrier for benefits that might include these programs, and with local programs providing DPP for scholarship opportunities. On top of decreasing your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes, you will be learning healthy lifestyle changes, including a heart healthy diet, which will also help to get your cholesterol numbers where they need to be.
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Inflammation Infection And Autoimmunity
In some cases, high triglycerides may be caused by inflammation and infection.
People with infections and chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriasis often have high triglycerides and low HDL. These disease-triggered changes initially serve to dampen inflammation or fight infection, but they increase the risk of heart disease in the long run .
For example, untreated gum disease increases blood triglycerides. People with chronic gum inflammation are continually exposed to bacteria, which disrupt immune and lipid balance in the body .
What Causes Levels To Fluctuate
Triglyceride levels fluctuate naturally in response to many factors, including calorie intake and time of day. Eating a meal can cause an increase in triglycerides, which the body may store to use later when it needs energy.
These fluctuations are typically short-lived, but they are part of the reason why doctors may ask a person to fast before getting a lipid profile blood test.
Some health conditions may increase the risk of higher triglyceride levels. According to the
- hormone medications
- immunosuppressant drugs
Anyone who is uncertain about the side effects of their specific medication should speak with their doctor.
A person can use a few treatments to help lower their triglyceride levels.
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When To Contact A Doctor
While high triglyceride levels may not usually cause symptoms, anyone who is uncertain or concerned about their triglyceride levels should consult a doctor.
Additionally, any adult who has not had a lipid profile test in the last 46 years should speak with a doctor about their cardiovascular risk factors and possible need for a test. Catching elevated levels of health markers, such as triglycerides or cholesterol, at an early stage may help a person make changes earlier to address the underlying issue.
- Arnett, D. K., et al. . 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on clinical practice guidelines.
A Diabetes Risk Factor
Research shows that lowering triglyceride levels may help stave off diabetes, a serious condition that occurs when the body can’t make the hormone insulin or use it well.
In a 10-year study of otherwise healthy men, researchers found that those with the lowest triglyceride levels were least likely to develop diabetes. In addition, men with high triglycerides who lowered them with healthy lifestyle changes had a diabetes risk that was similar to those who never had a triglyceride problem at all. The results were true even when controlling for diabetes risk factors such as blood pressure, physical activity, body mass index, family history, and more.
Experts don’t fully understand the relationship between triglycerides and diabetes. However, they believe excess triglycerides can increase insulin resistance in some people. This is the body’s inability to use glucose effectively.
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Does Having Higher Cholesterol Levels Present A Risk Factor For Diabetes
Diabetes has actually been determined to be a coronary heart disease risk factor. So just like smoking and inactivity, diabetes predisposes you to CHD. To put this into perspective, the risk for a CHD in a diabetic patient with no previous CHD is the same as for those of people without diabetes, and no heart disease. Thats significant. Not only that, but people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from a coronary event, with risk of death especially greater in the first 28 days following a coronary event. Women with diabetes were even more likely to die following a coronary event. Research in this area has been replicated, and is reliable.
My Cholesterol Is Normal But My Triglycerides Are High: Why Is That
So both your HDL and LDL levels are where they should be, but your triglycerides are still high why is that?
Triglycerides become elevated due to excess calories that do not get burned off, and in turned get stored in fat cells. Statins are medications that primarily lower LDL cholesterol, but depending on the medication dose, can lower Triglycerides from 20 to 40 percent, Sai Hanumanthu MD, with the TriHealth Heart Institute explains.
There are steps you can take to lower your triglyceride levels while promoting good cardiovascular health, including:
- Losing 5 to 10 pounds if overweight
- Avoiding alcohol
- Avoiding foods high in saturated fats
- Limiting simple carbs that have high processed sugars .
- Participating in 30 minutes of exercise per day
All these suggestions and routine follow up with a medical professional will lower you triglyceride level, even despite a low total cholesterol, Dr. Hanumanthu says.
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How To Lower Your High Triglycerides Levels
Now that you know what causes high triglycerides, you are probably wondering how to go about lowering them. Making healthy lifestyle changes are the main course of action. There are several things you can do:
Medications and Supplements
Sometimes changes in lifestyle are not enough to lower your triglyceride levels. If that is the case, your physician may put you on medication or supplements. There are several types that might help:
- High doses of fish oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids
- Statins like Zocor or Lipitor, which are designed to balance good and bad cholesterol levels
- Fibrate medications such as Lopid, TriCor or Fenoglide, but should not be taken with statins
- Niacin or nicotinic acid, but caution should be used because of potential negative interactions with other medications.
Make sure you follow your doctor’s orders carefully. Several of the medications and supplements on the market can lower triglycerides.
Note: Even if your doctor prescribes you supplements or medications to thwart what causes high triglycerides, you should still make healthy lifestyle choices and changes as it has been shown that if you do not make healthy lifestyle changes, your chances of stroke or heart attack will not necessarily decrease. Exercise and good diet are your best bet to deterring causes of high triglycerides and achieving faster and better results.
See Your Diabetes Educator
Work with a diabetes care and education specialist for help avoiding health complications such as heart disease. Youll get support and solutions and hear about the latest advances in managing diabetes. Find out more about how diabetes education can help you take the best care of yourself. And be sure to ask your doctor for a referral if you dont already have a diabetes educator.
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