What Are Triglycerides? PDF  | Print |  E-mail

What are Triglycerides? In addition to your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, there is another important health risk that every individual should monitor i.e. your triglyceride levels. Once you have high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat found in your blood, you run the risk of getting any of the many known forms of heart disease. However triglyceride levels can be decreased by making healthier lifestyle choices.

A fairly straightforward blood test can show you whether your triglycerides fall within a healthy range.

Normal — Less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) (less than 1.7 mmol/L)

Borderline high — 150 to 199 mg/dL (1.8 to 2.2 mmol/L)

High — 200 to 499 mg/dL (2.3 mmol/L to 5.6 mmol/L)

Very high — 500 mg/dL or above (5.7 mmol/L or above)

Your doctor may check for high triglycerides as part of a test known as a lipid panel or lipid profile which concurrently checks your cholesterol levels. You should not eat for nine to 12 hours before doing this test to ensure greater accuracy of the triglyceride measurement.

What are triglycerides and cholesterol? They are two distinctly different types of fats or as they are referred to medically, lipids, that circulate constantly within your blood. Triglycerides are responsible for providing your body with the necessary energy for daily activities, and cholesterol is essential to the process of building cells and specific hormones. Because triglycerides and cholesterol are insoluble in blood, they circulate throughout your entire body with the assistance of proteins that are us

ed to transport these lipids, which are called lipoproteins.

What are Triglycerides

It is not completely clear how high triglycerides may promote the hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls or as it is called atherosclerosis which increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease.

However high triglycerides are typically a sign of other conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke additionally, including obesity and the metabolic syndrome which is a cluster of conditions that includes too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol levels.

In some cases high triglycerides are a sign of poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, low levels of thyroid hormones or hypothyroidism, liver or kidney disease, or rare genetic conditions that may affect how your body uses fats to produce energy. High triglycerides are sometimes influenced when you take medications including: beta blockers, birth control pills, diuretics, steroids or the breast cancer drug tamoxifen.

As with many areas of medicine, we don't have all the details, but hopefully you now know the answer to your question, "What are triglycerides?"