What are the reasons, effects and how to prevent having high Triglyceride
Keeping track of your cholesterol is a very good idea. You may already heard about LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and HDL (“good”) cholesterol. But are you aware of the importance of your triglyceride levels to your overall health?
Triglycerides are one of the four numbers you see on the standard blood test your doctor gives you to check for cholesterol in your bloodstream. When that triglyceride number is very high, it can translate into real trouble for your heart and lead to other health issues, as well.
Triglycerides are a type of fat that’s used as an energy source for your body. Too much of this type of fat can clog your arteries and increase your risk for heart attack or stroke.
What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are one type of fat (lipid) found in your bloodstream. Your liver makes triglycerides, and you also get them through many of the foods you eat. In fact, your body converts any extra calories after you eat right away into triglycerides. Your fat cells store these fatty substances. They are later released and circulate the bloodstream to be used as energy by cells. But as with LDL cholesterol, too much can be harmful. Most dietary fats are triglycerides.
What are very high triglycerides?
Having very high triglycerides (VHTG) means that you have higher level of this type of fat in your blood. Your doctor may call this condition severe hypertriglyceridemia.
This condition is detected through a simple blood test called a lipid panel or lipid profile. This test measures your:
- Overall cholesterol
- LDL cholesterol
- HDL cholesterol
You will likely be asked to get your blood taken after fasting—when you haven’t had any food or drink (except water) for at least eight hours. That’s because the food you recently ate can change your triglyceride level. Because so many of your triglycerides come from the food you eat, triglycerides are usually lowest after fasting and highest after eating. So eating a heavy meal can actually cause a spike in the amount of triglycerides in the blood.
Like other types of cholesterol, it’s measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood.
There are four categories of triglyceride levels. Somebody is diagnosed with very high triglycerides when the amount of triglycerides found in the blood is 500 mg/dL or more,under 150 mg/dL is considered as normal.
|Classification||Triglyceride Level (mg/dL)|
|Healthy||Less than 150 mg/dL|
|Borderline high||150 to 199 mg/dL|
|High||200 to 499 mg/dL|
|Very high||500 mg/Dl or higher|
What causes VHTG?
There are many factors can raise triglycerides, or cause very high triglycerides. For example, it tends to be more common in people with:
- Low thyroid levels (hypothyroid)
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- Kidney disease
- A genetic predisposition where the body produces an excess amount of triglycerides
Other things that can raise triglyceride levels include:
- Certain medicines, including some birth control pills, beta blockers, antipsychotics, and corticosteroids
- A diet that is high in carbohydrates, or processed or sugary foods
- Not exercising
Are certain people more likely to develop it?
Of course. As mentioned, some people have a genetic deficiency or family history that makes them more prone to very high triglycerides. The condition is also more common in:
- People who are very overweight or obese.
- Women, especially those who are pregnant, are taking estrogen or hormone replacement therapy, or have polycystic ovary syndrome.
- The People who develop heart disease before age fifty.
- Mexican-American men.
- Indian Americans.
Are there signs and symptoms?
There usually aren’t any symptoms. However, most people with very high triglycerides can develop coronary disease at an early age. Because there aren’t any overt symptoms, routine blood testing to check your blood cholesterol levels may be the best idea.
Why is VHTG dangerous?
Having very high triglycerides has been linked to a higher chance of developing heart disease and having a heart attack or stroke. While researches are still ongoing to find the actual relationship between triglycerides and cardiovascular disease, we know that very high triglyceride levels tend to cluster with other risk factors, including being obese, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Very high triglycerides often occur along with:
- Lower levels of HDL cholesterol, which help clear cholesterol from the bloodstream.
- Smaller particles of the LDL cholesterol, which can speed up atherosclerosis.
- Changes to the body’s ability to break down blood clots, which can increase the risk of stroke.
- Metabolic syndrome.
There’s another potential problem. Extremely high levels of triglycerides can also lead to pancreatitis, a very serious condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. Pancreatitis can cause significant pain and usually results in hospitalization.
What is the usual treatment for VHTG?
Research into whether lowering triglycerides can measurably reduce the risk of heart disease or events is still ongoing. Still, most experts say it’s best to keep them within the normal range.
Here are the 4 Steps which helps to reduce triglycerides.
1. Move to active life style—regular exercise can lower triglycerides and raise HDL.
2. Improve your diet—that means trying to,
- Cut out excess calories by limiting unhealthy fats.
- Eat fiber-rich carbohydrates such as vegetables and whole grains, and limit simple carbohydrates (white breads, pasta, potatoes)
- Having alcohol regularly, can cause to spike triglycerides in some people.
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, available in certain fish (salmon, tuna, lake trout, and sardines), fish oil or flaxseed oil
- Avoid refined sugars
3. Lose weight and stay at a healthy body weight—losing just 5-10 percent of your weight can lower triglycerides.
4. Don’t smoke.