High Triglyceride Levels: How to Lower Triglyceride Levels Naturally?
High Triglyceride Levels
If you have just found out that you have "high triglycerides" you may be wondering what they are and whether you should be concerned. While many people know about dangers of high cholesterol levels in the blood, few people realize that triglycerides even exist.
Simply put, triglycerides are a type of fat (lipids) in our blood. Our body makes some triglycerides. Triglycerides also come from the foods we eat. When we eat, our body uses calories for immediate energy. Leftover calories are turned into triglycerides and stored in fat cells for later use. If you eat more calories than your body needs, your triglyceride level may be elevated. A high triglycerides level can increase the risk of heart disease. However, just what exactly triglyceride levels mean and how much lowering triglycerides reduces heart disease risk is less clear.
Triglyceride Test Results
The triglyceride level is usually checked by performing a common test called a lipid panel or a coronary risk (lipid) profile. It's the same blood test that checks "good" and "bad" cholesterol levels.
The following explanation will help you interpret your triglyceride test results (although, most likely, your doctor has already done it for you):
- Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL
- Borderline High: 150 - 199 mg/dL
- High: 200 - 499 mg/dL
- Very High: 500 mg/dL or above
It is now recommended that everyone over the age of 20 should get a lipid panel to measure cholesterol and triglycerides. This test is done to help predict your risk of developing heart disease.
A high triglyceride level may lead to atherosclerosis, which increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Elevated triglyceride levels may also cause inflammation of your pancreas. People with high triglycerides often have other conditions such as diabetes and obesity that also increase the chances of developing heart disease.A triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or higher is one of the risk factors of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk for heart disease and other disorders, including diabetes.
What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are a type of fat in the body. When you think of fat being stored in your hips or belly, you're thinking of triglycerides. Consider these things:
- The fat we eat exists in relatively huge molecules inside food. Triglycerides are the end product of digesting and breaking down these fats.
- Any extra food we consume that is not used right away -- carbohydrates, fat, or protein -- is converted into triglycerides.
- Triglycerides are then bundled together into globules. These are transported through the blood. Proteins (called lipoproteins) help transport these triglycerides.
- The triglycerides can used for energy later, if there is not enough food consumed, for example when you go on a diet.
Reasons for high triglyceride levels
What causes triglycerides to rise above normal levels?
High triglyceride levels may be due to unhealthy diet, being overweight or obese, cirrhosis of the liver, hypothyroidism, undiagnosed or poorly controlled diabetes, pancreatitis, or other serious conditions. Lack of physical activity, cigarette smoking, excess alcohol consumption also contribute to this condition. Most often high triglycerides are a lifestyle-related risk factor; however, underlying diseases or genetic disorders can be the cause.
One thing is clear, though: A healthy lifestyle with whole foods diet and regular exercise plan can lower triglyceride levels, improve cholesterol, and lower the risk of heart disease. (unhealthy diet can mean different things to different people, so read my other article for healthy eating recommendations),
The main therapy to reduce triglyceride levels is to change your lifestyle. This means control your weight, eat a healthy diet, get regular physical activity, avoid tobacco smoke, alcohol, processed foods, as well as and beverages and foods with added sugars. Sometimes, medication is needed in addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
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