How To Know If Your Triglyceride Levels Are Optimal
All you have to do is set up an appointment with your doctor to get a standard blood test done. Ask your doctor to print the results for you, and track your progress at after appointment.
According to the American Heart Association, these are the triglyceride level ranges:
|Very high||500 mg/dL or higher|
Aim for optimal triglyceride levels, but dont forget about cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well.
To see if you have healthier cholesterol levels, check your total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio. A ratio between 3 and 4 indicates that you have healthy cholesterol levels and are at a substantially reduced risk of heart disease. When it comes to blood sugar, your fasting blood sugar levels should be below 100 mg/dl.
It is also important to take note of your posture before you get your blood drawn. For example, different positions, like sitting, standing, and laying down, can cause triglycerides to vary significantly. Because of this, the American Heart Association recommends that you sit for at least 5 minutes in the same position each time you get your blood drawn to minimize variability in triglyceride measurements.
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Triglycerides And Cholesterol: The Similarities
Here are some things that triglycerides and cholesterol have in common.
On their own, triglycerides and cholesterol are not bad. When they are at healthy levels, they are both part of a well-functioning body. But both triglycerides and cholesterol tend to get a bad rap, because
Too much of either isnt good. When your body has too much LDL, it can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Triglyceride elevations are known to associate with heart and vascular disease risk, although the relationship is not the same as with cholesterol, Milks says.
Both can be checked with a blood test. Triglyceride and cholesterol levels can both be measured easily by your doctor using a blood test called a lipid profile. Your doctor may order the test as part of a routine exam or to monitor a condition, such as high cholesterol, high triglycerides, heart disease, or diabetes.
Both are treated in a similar way. In the case of both triglycerides and cholesterol, a healthy lifestyle is key. Triglyceride levels are generally quite responsive to therapeutic lifestyle changes, says Milks. These include a healthy body weight, regular physical activity, a prudent diet, and no more than moderate alcohol consumption. All of these habits can improve cholesterol levels, too.
How To Lower Triglycerides And Cholesterol Naturally
Your genes, diet, and lifestyle all affect your triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Some people naturally produce more triglycerides and cholesterol than others. This is based on their genetics and family history. Still, these levels are just part of your overall lipid levels, and lifestyle changes are one of the best ways to keep your numbers within a healthy range.
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How To Lower Triglyceride Levels
There are some steps that you can take to try to lower your triglyceride levels. Here are a few ideas recommended by the American Heart Association.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a diet thatâs low in carbohydrates, sugar, saturated fat, and trans fat.
- Include heart-healthy fats in your diet .
- Quit smoking or using tobacco products.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Get and keep your blood sugars within your target range.
If lifestyle changes donât help get your triglyceride levels down, talk to your healthcare provider. You might need to take medications or supplements to help lower your triglyceride levelsespecially if theyâre high because of genetics.
What Affects My Cholesterol Levels
A variety of things can affect cholesterol levels. These are some things you can do to lower your cholesterol levels:
- Diet. Saturated fat and cholesterol in the food you eat make your blood cholesterol level rise. Saturated fat is the main problem, but cholesterol in foods also matters. Reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet helps lower your blood cholesterol level. Foods that have high levels of saturated fats include some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.
- Weight. Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease. It also tends to increase your cholesterol. Losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. It also raises your HDL cholesterol level.
- Physical Activity. Not being physically active is a risk factor for heart disease. Regular physical activity can help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels. It also helps you lose weight. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most, if not all, days.
- Smoking.Cigarette smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol. HDL helps to remove bad cholesterol from your arteries. So a lower HDL can contribute to a higher level of bad cholesterol.
Things outside of your control that can also affect cholesterol levels include:
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When To Seek Treatment
Deciding on whether you ought to be treated for high cholesterol or high triglyceride levels, whether that treatment ought to include drug therapy, and which drugs ought to be used is not always entirely straightforward. Still, if your cardiovascular risk is elevated, the right treatment aimed at your lipid levels can substantially reduce your chances of having a heart attack, or even of dying prematurely. So when it comes to treating cholesterol and triglycerides, it is important to get it right. You can read about current thinking on when and how treatment for blood lipids should be chosen.
Causes Of High Triglycerides
In many cases, habitual overeating causes high triglycerides. Occasionally, the trigger is an underlying condition such as:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Some types of liver disease
- Some types of kidney disease
- Some genetic disorders, including the inherited disease familial hypertriglyceridemia and familial combined hyperlipidemia .
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Choose Foods That Help Improve Your Ldl And Hdl Levels
Following a healthy eating plan can play a big role in your overall health, including your blood sugar and blood lipid control. What you eat and your cholesterol levels go hand in hand.
Foods that can help lower cholesterol:
Fiber , healthy fats , and plant stanols or sterols have all been shown to help lower cholesterol.
Other ways to improve cholesterol:
â Reduce sugar intake: Cut the amount of added sugars you eat. This is especially important for people with high triglycerides. The grams of sugars on the Nutrition Facts label of a food package, however, doesnât tell you if sugars have been added . Instead, look at the ingredients list for items such as sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, maple syrup, or agave to see if there are added sugars in the product. Natural sugars, such as those found in fruit and dairy products, are also counted as sugars on the Nutrition Facts label. Limit how much sugar you use to sweeten drinks or in recipes.
â Limit high-cholesterol foods: People with diabetes should consume no more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol per day, according to the ADA.
Whats The Difference Between Cholesterol And Triglycerides
Youve probably heard of high blood cholesterol, but have you heard of high blood triglycerides?
Cholesterol and triglycerides are important measures of heart health. Both cholesterol and triglycerides are different types of lipids that circulate in the blood, but elevated levels of both can raise your risk for heart disease. Here is a rundown of the difference between cholesterol and triglycerides, and why they matter for your heart health.
Definitions & Why it Matters
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in some foods and in your blood. Your liver makes most of the blood cholesterol and it produces enough for your needs. Cholesterol is part of every cell in your body and some hormones. Cholesterol is needed to help your body digest and absorb fat.
Too much cholesterol in the blood can build up inside arteries, forming what is known as plaque. Large amounts of plaque increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in some foods as well as in your body. Triglyceride is a term that describes the structure of a fat, which is made up of 3 fatty acids and a glycerol backbone. . When you eat, your body converts any excess calories you dont need to use right away into triglycerides for a longer-term energy source. Triglycerides are mostly stored in your fat cells and are commonly deposited beneath the skin and around some internal organs. Some triglycerides circulate in the blood.
Top 5 ways to lower cholesterol:
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How Are Triglycerides Measured
Your doctor may give you a common test called a lipid panel. It checks for different types of cholesterol, including the levels of the “good” kind and the “bad” kind. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone 21 and older get a lipid panel at least every 5 years.
The levels are checked after an overnight fast. Fat from a recent meal can muddy the picture.
These tests are important because you rarely have any symptoms when your triglycerides are high, unlike with many other conditions.
Healthy Fats Can Help Lower Cholesterol
Replace unhealthy fats, such as saturated and trans fats, with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. To eat more omega-3 fats, include fatty fish, flaxseed or ground flax, and walnuts in your eating plan. The oils that contain omega-3 fats are olive and canola oils. The ADA recommends eating two servings of omega-3-rich fish per week as part of a heart-healthy diet. The oils high in omega-6 fats are corn, soybean, and sunflower oils.
Eat less of these unhealthful fats:
â Saturated fat: The biggest food contributor to elevated LDL cholesterol is saturated fat. To remedy the cause-and-effect relationship between saturated fat and LDL, the ADA recommends limiting saturated-fat intake to less than 7 percent of your daily calories. So if youâre trying to eat no more than 2,000 calories a day, that would mean eating no more than 140 calories from saturated fat daily, or 15 grams of saturated fat.
â Trans fat: The ADA also recommends avoiding foods that contain trans fat. Although many restaurants and manufacturers advertise products as having zero trans fat, if the ingredients include shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, or hydrogenated vegetable oil, the food likely contains trans fat. Labels are not required to list trans fat if the total is less than 0.5 grams per serving. Eating multiple servings of such foods means trans-fat intake can add up.
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Know The Dangers Of Trans Fats
Trans fats are dangerous for your heart, because they raise low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The chief culprit youll see on product labels is partially hydrogenated oil. Trans fats are the result of adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to increase shelf life. This may make some baked and fried foods taste better, but trans fats are very unhealthy, particularly for people with high triglycerides. In fact, trans fats should make up less than 1 percent of your total calories, according to the World Health Organization. Check your food labels: If a food contains trans fats or hydrogenated oils, leave it on the shelf.
Normal Cholesterol With High Triglycerides What Is That
When measuring total cholesterol levels, low-density lipoprotein , high-density lipoprotein , and triglycerides are used in the measurement.
For adults, standard cholesterol levels are:
- Less than 200 mg/dL is desirable
- Between 200 – 239 mg/dL is considered borderline
- Over 240 mg/dL is considered high
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What Can You Do At Home To Treat High Triglycerides
The main way to deal with high triglycerides is to eat better and get more exercise. Here are some guidelines to help you manage your level:
Moderate exercise: Try to exercise 5 or more days each week. Lack of movement makes it hard for your body to process blood sugar and triglycerides as it normally does. So itâs important for you to get up and get moving more each day. Skip the escalator or elevator and climb stairs. Get off the bus or subway one stop early and walk. Find activities you enjoy: Walk, swim, or ride a bike. Join a gym. Talk to your doctor before you begin any exercise plan.
Watch your weight: If youâre carrying extra pounds, losing 5% to 10% of your weight can lower triglycerides. People with a healthy weight are more likely to have normal levels. Belly fat is associated with higher numbers.
Eat less bad fat and carbs: Try to lower the saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol in your diet. Cutting back on carbohydrates will help, too. Foods high in saturated fat, such as red meat, boost levels. Butter and cheese contain these same triglyceride-boosting fats. Choose lean meats or protein alternatives, such as chicken and unprocessed turkey, that are lower in saturated fat.
Another healthy option: Make meatless meals. Vegetarian pastas, chilis, and stir-fries are a delicious alternative to meat dishes. Avoid dishes loaded with cream or cheese in favor of recipes that use vegetable or olive oil and feature plenty of vegetables.
Triglycerides And Cholesterol: The Differences
Although triglycerides and cholesterol share similarities, they are not the same. Here are some fundamental differences.
Triglycerides and cholesterol are produced differently. While the body can produce all the cholesterol it needs to function, this isnt the case with triglycerides, which come from food or excess calories.
They serve different purposes in the body. While the primary function of triglycerides is to give your body energy and store unused calories for later, cholesterol helps your body build cells and make hormones, vitamin D, and bile to help break down the foods you eat.
When levels are too high, they can each harm your heart in different ways. The link between high cholesterol and heart disease is well established, and research on triglycerides is now bringing new insights. A study published in June 2020 in the journal BMJ Open found that in 50 year-old women, high levels of triglycerides but not cholesterol may be a risk factor for developing heart failure later. Growing evidence also ties high triglycerides to heart disease risk, regardless of cholesterol levels. Both blood sugar and high triglycerides can be signs that the body isnt using or storing energy appropriately, Milks says.
Bottom line: Both triglycerides and cholesterol are important, and keeping both in check can help your heart stay at its healthiest.
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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.
How Long Does It Take To Lower Triglycerides
Depending on whats causing your high triglyceride levels, you may be able to lower them in just a few days. A night out drinking or eating foods high in sugar can cause a spike in your triglyceride levels. Limiting alcohol and sugar intake can bring your levels back to normal within a few days.
If you have consistently high triglycerides, it may take a few months for them to return to a healthy range. How fast they lower depends on the lifestyle changes, diet, and medications youre taking.
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Diabetes High Cholesterol And Diet
Heres some good news: it doesnt take a huge effort to start making heart-healthy food decisions. Especially when you have diabetes and high cholesterol, watching your diet is critical.
There are changes you can make to what you eat every day. We recommend that you talk to a certified diabetes educator or registered dietitian about changing how you eat. They can work with you to create a meal plan that is delicious, flexible , and healthyfor both your heart and your diabetes.
Consider the fruit and/or vegetables that you will add to your meal for the most heart healthy, weight neutral, blood sugar favorable eating plan.
In the meantime, here are 4 tips to help you eat well when you have high cholesterol.
What Is Hypercholesterolemia
Hypercholesterolemia is a specific type of hyperlipidemia. With hypercholesterolemia, you either have too much LDL cholesterol or too little high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in your blood.
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is also known as good cholesterol. This healthy type of cholesterol helps to remove LDL cholesterol the bad type from your arteries. Because HDL cholesterol plays an important role in getting rid of LDL, you want higher levels of HDL in your blood.
The risk factors, potential causes, and possible health impacts are the same for hypercholesterolemia as they are for hyperlipidemia.
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