What You Can Do
Many of the steps you should take to lower triglycerides are the same ones you should take to protect your heart and health overall.
If you’re overweight, shed a few pounds. Get regular aerobic exercise . Limit the saturated fats in meat and dairy products. Watch your alcohol intake, even moderate drinking ramps up triglyceride levels. And diet? High-carb/low-fat eating will increase your triglycerides and lower your HDL.
If you’re taking a statin to lower your LDL, one side benefit may be reduced triglyceride levels. Depending on the dose, statins can lower triglycerides by 20%40%.
The omega-3 fats in fish and fish oil capsules are another triglyceride-lowering option. For a very high triglyceride level, your doctor can prescribe a high-dose omega-3 medication.
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What To Know About Triglycerides
In addition to cholesterol, you might hear about your triglycerides, another kind of fat found in the bloodstream. Women should pay particular attention to this. A high level of triglycerides seems to predict an even greater risk for heart disease in women compared with men, says Michos.
When you take in more calories than you need, your body converts the extra calories into triglycerides, which are then stored in fat cells. Triglycerides are used by the body for energy, but people with excess triglycerides have higher risk of medical problems, including cardiovascular disease. Drinking a lot of alcohol and eating foods containing simple carbohydrates , saturated fats and trans fats contributes to high triglycerides. High levels may also be caused by health conditions such as diabetes, an underactive thyroid, obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome or kidney disease.
Triglycerides also circulate in the bloodstream on particles that may contribute to plaque formation. Many people with high triglycerides have other risk factors for atherosclerosis, including high LDL levels or low HDL levels, or abnormal blood sugar levels. Genetic studies have also shown some association between triglycerides and cardiovascular disease.
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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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High Triglycerides Make Heart Disease More Likely Even With Normal Cholesterol
According to the American Heart Association , if you have high levels of triglycerides along with low levels of good cholesterol and high levels of bad cholesterol, you’re at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. But what happens if you have high triglycerides with good cholesterol numbers?
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“It is not uncommon to have high triglycerides with normal cholesterol â we see it all the time,” says John P. Higgins, MD, a professor of medicine at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas and chief of cardiology at Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital in Houston. “Having just high triglycerides increases your risk for heart disease. It is a risk factor on its own, called an independent risk factor.”
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Metabolic Syndrome: Role Of Insulin In Tg
The pathophysiology of metabolic syndrome appears related to a genetic predisposition created by multiple genes coupled with a sedentary lifestyle and a diet containing excess calories. With development of obesity, the ability of adipocytes to store TGs as fat is exceeded therefore, fat is stored in liver and skeletal muscle . Increased levels of circulating FFAs released from adipocytes cause insulin resistance in muscle and other tissues . Adipocyte expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and other cytokines causes infiltration of macrophages and other immune cells into adipocytes . These macrophages release cytokines which cause insulin resistance in muscle, liver and other tissues by impairing insulin signaling due to increased serine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1 .
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Why The Test Is Performed
Triglycerides are usually measured together with other blood fats. Often it is done to help determine your risk of developing heart disease. A high triglyceride level may lead to atherosclerosis, which increases your risk for heart attack and stroke.
A very high triglyceride level may also cause swelling of your pancreas .
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How Can You Naturally Lower Tg And Increase Hdl Levels
The most effective ways to improve your TG/HDL are:
- Lose weight. Body fat used to be considered as an inert energy storage tissue. Now we know it is an endocrine tissue that releases chemicals that cause insulin resistance, prediabetes, and CV risk .
- Eat fewer carbs. Get into a lower carbohydrate diet .
- Exercise. Exercise increases HDL levels and lowers TG levels .
- Take niacin. It is one of the few supplements that lowers TG , increases HDL cholesterol levels , and lowers LDL cholesterol levels .
- Get dietary and supplemental omega-3s .
Rare Causes Of High Triglycerides
Certain medical conditions and states can cause high triglyceride levels, but they are not as common a trigger as some of the better-known causes. These include:
Familial hypertriglyceridemia: A rare genetic disorder that causes high triglyceride levels that exceed 1,000 mg/dL. As the name suggests, this condition runs in families with members having abnormal levels of high-density lipoprotein , low-density lipoprotein , and triglycerides.
Pregnancy: Triglyceride levels rise in expectant mothers and tend to peak during the third trimester. However, after giving birth, most women experience a return to normal levels.
Liver disease: The liver plays an important role in processing fats. If it becomes compromised in some way, such as in the case of fatty liver disease, overproduction and accumulation of fat in liver cells can occur. This leads to excessive amounts of inflammation and even death if no treatment is implemented. Proper liver function can be disrupted by alcoholism, malnutrition, pregnancy, poisoning, diabetes, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, and lupus.
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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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Know Your Triglyceride Numbers
A blood test called a lipid panel checks both your triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Usually, your doctor will ask that you fast, or not eat or drink anything other than water, for 9-12 hours before the test. Youâll get blood taken from a vein in your arm. Some labs offer non-fasting lipid panels, or they may prick your finger for blood.
- Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL
- Borderline: 150 to 199 mg/dL
- High: 200 to 499 mg/dL
- Very High: 500 mg/dL or above
Anyone over age 20 needs to get regular tests to track their cholesterol and triglyceride levels, according to the American Heart Association.
Symptoms Of High Blood Cholesterol And Triglycerides
High cholesterol typically doesnt cause any symptoms. Symptoms may only appear after the increased cholesterol has caused significant damage.
For instance, symptoms may come in the form of heart disease symptoms, such as chest pain or nausea and fatigue. A heart attack or stroke may result from uncontrolled cholesterol, among other things.
High Triglycerides And Low Cholesterol Can Be Caused By Many Reasons
If your Triglycerides is in between 0 mg/dL and 150 mg/dL and your Cholesterol is in between 0 mg/dL and 200 mg/dL then you need not worry as these are the normal ranges for Triglycerides and Cholesterol respectively. But if your levels are lesser or greater than the above values, then there may be some problem in your body.
How Is A Lipid Disorder Diagnosed
To check your cholesterol levels, your doctor will order a blood test called a lipid profile, or lipid panel. This test measures your total cholesterol and triglycerides. Before this test, your doctor will likely ask you to avoid eating and drinking liquids other than water for at least 8 to 12 hours.
The lipid profile measures cholesterol in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter . Your total cholesterol level should be no higher than 200 mg/dL. Learn how to understand your cholesterol results.
A combination of medications and lifestyle changes is a common treatment plan to correct high cholesterol and triglycerides. Your doctor may also suggest certain supplements.
Normal Cholesterol High Triglycerides
Even though your latest physical may have shown that your cholesterol levels are normal, you may still be at risk for heart disease if your triglycerides level is high.
A 20-year study conducted by the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine found that a pattern of elevated levels of triglycerides, the main form of fats circulating in the bloodstream, even when cholesterol levels are normal, can mean a two- to three-fold increase of deaths by cardiovascular disease.
Blood triglycerides come from two main sources: the food you eat-especially sugar, animal products and saturated fats-and from your liver. Although its not exactly clear how, high triglyceride levels can result in hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls , which can raise your risk for stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.
- Normal triglyceride levels are less than 150 milligrams per deciliter
- Borderline high is 150-199 mg/dl high is 200-499 mg/dl
- Very high 500 mg/dl. A triglyceride level of 150 mg/dl or above is considered a risk for metabolic syndrome-a constellation of conditions resulting from too much fat around the waist-which in addition to raising your risk for heart disease, it can also increase your risk for diabetes.
How Do Triglycerides Circulate In The Blood
Pure cholesterol cannot mix with or dissolve in the blood. Instead, the liver packages cholesterol with triglycerides and proteins called lipoproteins. The lipoproteins move this fatty mixture to areas throughout the body.
Types of these lipoproteins include very low-density lipoproteins , high-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins .
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Hdl And Cholesterol Efflux
Although the risk of developing CHD is inversely correlated with plasma levels of HDL-C , recent studies suggest that the amount of cholesterol efflux from cells is a better predictor of CHD than HDL-C concentration . In statin-treated men with LDL-C < 70 mg/dL who had high TG and low levels of HDL-C , cholesterol efflux was reduced compared to normolipidemic subjects . This finding suggests that decreased cholesterol efflux may contribute to the residual risk observed in statin-treated subjects with low HDL-C even when LDL-C < 70 mg/dL. Decreased cholesterol efflux has also been found to be inversely related to carotid IMT and angiographic coronary artery disease independent of HDL-C level . Taken together, the evidence suggests that the functional status of HDL is more important than its level.
Three human infusion studies have been done with apoA-I Milano or reconstituted HDL with the goal of increasing the number of functional HDL particles. Reduction in atheroma volume was 4.2%, and 3.4%, respectively, and decreased expression of VCAM-1 occurred in the third . However, there is no clinical assay yet for the measurement of HDL functionality.
Sedentary Lifestyle Or Lack Of Exercise
The amount of exercise you get can have an effect on your triglyceride levels. If you lead an inactive lifestyle, youâre more likely to accumulate extra calories, which your body will quickly transform into triglycerides for later use.
However, if you arenât staying active enough to use those triglycerides, theyâll hang around in your system.
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What Foods Can Help Lower Triglycerides
Now that you know which foods to avoid, what foods can you add into your diet that can help support healthy triglyceride levels? Foods to emphasize are high fiber vegetables with lower sugar content, such as cruciferous vegetables, Archibald says. Including legumes, canned or cooked from their dried versions, will add both fiber and satiety to the plate.
Adding healthy omega-3 fats can be helpful as well. Among fats, seek out foods rich in omega-3 fats, which not only act as natural anti-inflammatories in the body but can also prevent the production of triglycerides and cholesterol in the liver, says Archibald.
Here are 20 foods that can lower triglycerides.
Not A Direct Measurement
The LDL measurement is typically considered the most important aspect of your cholesterol profile when it comes to assessing risk. Before you panic about your results, it’s crucial to know that the traditional cholesterol test does not directly measure LDL. The fasting cholesterol test calculates your LDL using a formula called the Friedewald equation. It takes into account your total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein and triglycerides to make an estimate. Because of this limitation, results can be misleading under certain circumstances.
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What Can Raise Your Triglycerides
Triglycerides can be raised due to what doctors refer to as ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ causes, explained below. Some people have a combination of both.
It is very important that your doctors investigates all these potential causes so that you can start treatment.
Primary causes of raised triglycerides
‘Primary’ refers to inherited conditions which cause raised triglyceride levels.
Your Test Results: A Preview
Your test results will show your cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter of blood . Your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are among numerous factors your doctor can use to predict your lifetime or 10-year risk for a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor will also consider other risk factors, such as age, family history, smoking status, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Lipid profile or lipid panel is a blood test that will give you results for your HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total blood cholesterol.
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Diagnosis Of High Triglycerides
A blood test can reveal whether or not you have high triglycerides. You may need to have two blood tests for accurate results. Dont eat anything for at least 12 hours before each blood test because food particularly fatty food can temporarily boost triglyceride levels in the blood and skew your test results.Triglycerides are measured in mmol/L. The range includes:
- Very high over 6 mmol/L
- High between2 and 6 mmol/L
- Borderline high between 1.7 and 2 mmol/L
- Normal below 1.7 mmol/L
The doctor may also test your cholesterol levels. In many cases, high triglycerides and high cholesterol go hand in hand. This condition is sometimes known as combined hyperlipidemia.
Low Ldl High Triglycerides Could Indicate Covid
Teufel K, et al. Abstract 268. Presented at: National Lipid Association Scientific Sessions Dec. 10-12, 2020 .
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Among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, LDL level below 50 mg/dL and triglycerides above 150 mg/dL were individually associated with increased odds for mortality, according to a presentation.
Prior studies have demonstrated lipid abnormalities in patients with SARS-CoV-2 that were mainly analyzing total cholesterol levels. Our study suggests that patients with COVID-19 who have unusually low LDL levels and yet elevated TG levels have more increased mortality,Karolyn Teufel MD, assistant professor of medicine at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington D.C., and colleagues wrote in a poster presented at the virtual National Lipid Association Scientific Sessions. These lipid biomarkers may act as an independent prognostic marker for patients on admission. Additionally, it is unusual to see low LDL and high TG in a patient with metabolic syndrome one would expect to see elevated LDL levels in such patients.
At this hospital, the lower limit of normal LDL range is 50 mg/dL, the lower limit for HDL is 40 mg/dL, and the upper limit for triglycerides is 150 mg/dL.
Researchers observed greater odds for mortality when the direct LDL was below 50 mg/dL at any point during a patients hospital stay .
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How To Prepare For The Test
You should not eat for 8 to 12 hours before the test.
Alcohol and some medicines can interfere with blood test results.
- Make sure your health care provider knows what medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.
- Your provider will tell you if you need to stop taking any medicines before you have this test.
- DO NOT stop or change your medicines without talking to your provider first.
Treatments For High Triglyceride Levels
If you have high triglycerides, your doctor’s treatment should include healthy eating and exercise. Avoiding processed and sugary foods is paramount these dietary changes alone can have a tremendous impact on your triglyceride levels. Your doctor may also recommend taking omega 3 fatty acid supplements.
Begin today. Talk to your doctor or other health care provider about exactly what you need to do to start living a healthy lifestyle to lower triglycerides, help prevent a heart attack or stroke, avoid or manage diabetes, and reduce your chances of developing liver disease and pancreatitis.
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