Healthy Cholesterol Levels By Age
The recommended ranges for your cholesterol will vary based on age and gender. As people get older, cholesterol levels rise naturally. For example, people who have gone through menopause may have higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels.
The following table was adapted from the Cleveland Clinic :
|Cholesterol Levels by Age: Normal, Borderline, and High
|Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL
Dangers Of Low Triglycerides
Low triglyceride levels are generally not dangerous. In fact, research supports the idea that low triglyceride levels can offer certain health benefits.
In one 2014 study, researchers found that lower non-fasting triglyceride levels were associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality in almost 14,000 study participants.
Another smaller 2017 study found that low triglyceride levels were linked to improved brain function in older adults without dementia.
However, incredibly low triglyceride levels may be linked to other conditions, as mentioned above. Some of these conditions in and of themselves may be dangerous, so it becomes important to treat the underlying condition thats causing low triglycerides.
What Do Low Triglyceride Levels Indicate And Can They Be Too Low
In general, having low triglyceride levels is not considered a problem. If your triglyceride levels are less than 150mg/dL, you have a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack or stroke.
However, if your triglyceride levels are extremely low and less than 40mg/dL, then you may have a medical condition or disease, such as liver problems or inflammation. Your risk of dying from heart failure is also higher if triglycerides are too low.
Other causes of very low triglyceride levels include:
- Very low-fat diets
- Certain rare genetic conditions that affect how your body converts fat to energy
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How Do Triglyceride Levels Compare With Cholesterol Levels
If you have high triglycerides, you are more likely to also have high total cholesterol and high bad cholesterol levels. Many people with high triglycerides also have low good cholesterol levels.
Both triglycerides and cholesterol are measured in mg/dL. However, the guidelines differ for what normal levels are for each of them.
How To Maintain Optimal Triglyceride Levels
- Exercise for 30-60 minutes 5x/week.
- Lose excess weight by consuming fewer calories.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates and limit added sugars to < 25g/day.
- Limit alcohol consumption to < 1-2 drinks/day.
- Choose healthy fats like those found in nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados, and salmon.
- Avoid trans fats and limit saturated fat to < 10% of total calories.
- Quit smoking.
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Ask The Diva: Can Triglycerides Be Too Low
Very low triglyceride levels can signal health problems. Nutrition Diva explains whether you should worry if your blood test comes back with low triglyceride levels.
Q. The American Heart Association guidelines say that normal triglyceride levels are less than 150 mg/dL. My triglyceride level is 40 mg/dL. Is that too low? If so, how can I raise my levels in a healthy way?
A. Very low triglyceride levels can signal problems. Diets that dont contain enough fat, for example, can cause triglyceride levels to dip dangerously low. There are also some medical problems that can cause abnormally low triglycerides, such as an inability to absorb fats or hyperthyroidism. But a triglyceride level of 40 is considered perfectly normalideal, in fact! Although levels up to 150mg/dL are within the normal range, the AHA recommends that we aim for triglyceride levels below 100.
If your levels had been a concern, either on their own or in view of other test results or symptoms, Im sure your doctor would have ordered follow up tests to rule out any other problems. And, of course, if you have any lingering worries, you should check in with her! But in and of itself, a triglyceride reading of 40 isnt anything to worry about. Its something to crow about!
What To Think About
- Chylomicrons are another type of lipoprotein that are measured in a different test. Chylomicrons are in the blood and carry fat from your intestine to your liver. They carry triglycerides to your muscles for immediate use. Or they carry triglycerides to fat tissue for storage.
- Having a high cholesterol level increases your chances of having a heart attack. The higher your cholesterol, the greater your chances. An elevated total cholesterol level in younger people is particularly significant, since the narrowing of the coronary arteries usually takes many years to develop.
- Lifestyle changes may help lower blood cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol. Some people have better responses to diet and lifestyle changes than do others. Lifestyle changes might include:
- Quitting smoking.
- Eating healthier by reducing saturated fats and cholesterol in the diet while increasing fibre and complex carbohydrate.
- Losing weight. An improvement may occur if you lose as little as 2.5 kg to 5 kg .
- Being active on most, preferably all, days of the week.
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When Is It Ordered
A lipid profile, which includes triglycerides, is recommended every 4 to 6 years to evaluate risk of heart disease in healthy adults. Children should have a lipid profile screening at least once between the ages of 9 and 11 and once again between the ages of 17 and 21.
Testing may be ordered more frequently when people have identified risk factors for heart disease. Some risk factors for heart disease include:
- Cigarette smoking
- Acceptable: Less than 90 mg/dL
- Borderline high: 90-129 mg/dL
- High: Greater than 130 mg/dL
For young adults older than 19
- Acceptable: Less than 115 mg/dL
- Borderline high: 115-149 mg/dL
- High: Greater than 150 mg/dL
Note: These values are based on fasting triglyceride levels.
When triglycerides are very high ), there is a risk of developing pancreatitis in children and adults. Treatment to lower triglycerides should be started as soon as possible.
What Are Risk Factors For High Triglycerides
Factors that may raise triglyceride levels include:
- Excessive alcohol use.
- American Academy of Family Physicians. High Cholesterol. Accessed 11/182/2021.
- American Heart Association. Cholesterol. Accessed 11/18/2021.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Getting Your Cholesterol Checked. Accessed 11/18/2021.
- Hormone Health Network. Triglycerides. Accessed 11/18/2021.
- MedlinePlus. Triglycerides Test. Accessed 11/18/2021.
- Merck Manual Consumer Version. Overview of Cholesterol and Lipid Fats. Accessed 11/18/2021.
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. High Blood Triglycerides. Accessed 11/18/2021.
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How Is It Used
Blood tests for triglycerides are usually part of a lipid profile that is used to help identify an individualâs risk of developing heart disease and to help make decisions about what treatment may be needed if there is borderline or high risk. As part of a lipid profile, it may be used to monitor people who have risk factors for heart disease, those who have had a heart attack, or those who are being treated for high lipid and/or high triglyceride levels.
Results of the cholesterol test and other components of the lipid profile are used along with other known risk factors of heart disease to develop a plan of treatment and follow-up. Treatment options may include lifestyle changes, such as diet or exercise programs, or lipid-lowering drugs, such as statins.
Tips To A Cholesterol Lowering Foods Diet
Incorporating foods found in an anti-oxidant rich Mediterranean diet will eliminate the need to frequently consult the cholesterol chart and will reduce cholesterol levels:
Eating mostly plant-based foods legumes, fruits, whole grains, vegetables and nuts Replacing the unhealthy fat of butter and margarine with canola or olive oil provide healthy fats Flavoring foods with spices and herbs rather than table salt Eating red meat a few times or less per month Eating chicken, turkey and fish two or three times a week
Participation in daily exercise is also a component of the Mediterranean diet.
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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.
How Often Should My Triglycerides Be Tested
If youâre a healthy adult, you should get a lipid profile every 4-6 years. Children should have it done at least once between the ages of 9 and 11, and one more time between 17 and 21. If youâre making changes to your diet or taking medication for high cholesterol or triglycerides, experts advise you to get a lipid profile afterward.
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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.
Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factors
High triglyceride levels are associated with a collection of disorders known as metabolic syndrome. A person with metabolic syndrome has an increased risk of developing diabetes, stroke or heart disease.A person is classed as having metabolic syndrome when they have any three of the following factors:
- Central obesity excess fat in and around the stomach
- High blood pressure
- Higher than normal blood glucose levels
- Low HDL cholesterol
- High blood triglycerides.
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What Are Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that plays many roles in the body, including synthesizing hormones and vitamin D. It also assists in the transporting of lipids. Cholesterol is found in the foods you eat, but it is also made by the liver.
- LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because too much of it can build up in your arteries and form plaques, which increases the risk of heart disease.
- HDL cholesterol is often referred to as “good” cholesterol as it carries cholesterol to the liver to be broken down and excreted.
Since your total cholesterol level is a combination of your LDL cholesterol and your HDL cholesterol, ideally you want to keep your LDL levels low and your HDL levels high. There are many factors that can influence your cholesterol levels, including, diet, exercise, weight, genetics, and other health conditions.
A Sign Of Metabolic Syndrome
People with metabolic syndrome are several times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. The risk of eventually developing diabetes is even greater.
A syndrome is, by definition, a group of signs and symptoms that occur together because of an underlying condition. For metabolic syndrome, that group includes abdominal obesity , high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low HDL cholesterol and, yes, high triglyceride levels.
So as doctors have started to take metabolic syndrome more seriously, they’ve also started to pay more attention to triglyceride levels as one of its telltale signs.
Triglycerides go it alone
HDL and triglycerides are metabolically connected and are often inversely related: As triglycerides go up, HDL goes down and vice versa. But that isn’t always so. People can have “isolated” high triglycerides without low HDL levels, and research is now showing that high triglycerides are an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, no matter what the HDL is.
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What Abnormal Results Mean
High triglyceride levels may be due to:
- Other medicines, such as female hormones
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- Disorder passed down through families in which there are high amounts of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood
Overall, the treatment of elevated triglyceride levels focuses on increased exercise and changes in the diet. Drugs to lower triglyceride levels may be used to prevent pancreatitis for levels above 500 mg/dL.
Low triglyceride levels may be due to:
- Low fat diet
Pregnancy can affect test results.
What Are Normal Triglyceride Levels
Normal fasting blood triglyceride levels are:
- Lower than 150 mg/dL for adults
- Lower than 90 mg/dL for children ages 10 to 19
Your doctor may diagnose you with high blood triglycerides if your fasting blood triglyceride levels are consistently 150 milligrams per deciliter or higher.
Talk to your doctor about what your numbers mean for you.
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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:
A Ldl Hdl Cholesterol Chart Along With Recommended Triglyceride Numbers
A cholesterol chart provides information concerning cholesterol numbers categorized as good, moderate or bad.
The quantity of cholesterol in a blood sample is measured in milligrams per each deciliter of blood taken from an individual. The measurements of good and bad cholesterol tell a physician whether someone is suffering from high cholesterol levels, also referred to as hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia, and needs immediate administrations of medication in addition to dietary and lifestyle changes in order to prevent a possible heart attack.
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What Affects The Test
Many conditions can affect cholesterol and triglyceride levels, including:
- Medicines, such as diuretics, corticosteroids, male sex hormones , tranquillizers, estrogen, birth control pills, antibiotics, and niacin .
- Physical stress, such as infection, heart attack, surgery.
- Other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, or kidney or liver disease.
- Alcohol use disorder.
- Liver disease , malnutrition, or hyperthyroidism.
- Pregnancy. Values are the highest during the third trimester and usually return to the pre-pregnancy levels after delivery of the baby.
Your doctor will talk with you about any abnormal results that may be related to your other health problems.
What Is A High Triglyceride Level
High triglycerides can be dangerous to your health. Unfortunately, high triglycerides, like high cholesterol, rarely causes symptoms. Its vital to get routine lipid blood tests to check cholesterol numbers.
Your healthcare provider determines total cholesterol by looking at a combination of triglycerides, HDL and LDL numbers. If your triglycerides and LDL cholesterol are high, but your HDL is low, you have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
For the most accurate reading, you should fast 8 to 12 hours before a lipid blood test. A healthy number for triglycerides is below 150 milligrams per deciliter .
Your healthcare provider classifies high triglyceride levels as:
- Mild: 150-199 mg/dL.
- Severe: Greater than 500 mg/dL.
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