Approximately 95% of all dietary fats are derived from a common form of fat called triglycerides. Animal and vegetable fats both contain triglycerides. After digestion, triglycerides circulate in your blood to be used as energy for your body’s cells. If there are any leftovers, they’re stored in the body’s fat for later use.
What does it mean when your triglycerides are high?
High triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia) can be hazardous to your health. Unfortunately, high triglycerides, like high cholesterol, rarely reveal their symptoms. It’s important to get regular lipid blood tests to check your cholesterol numbers.
A healthy number for triglycerides is just below 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
Healthcare providers classify high triglyceride levels as:
- Mild: 150-199 mg/dL.
- Moderate: 200-499 mg/dL.
- Severe: Greater than 500 mg/dL.
Triglyceride levels that are too high put you at risk for pancreatitis, which can be fatal. The risk of heart and vascular disease is also increased by high triglyceride levels and includes:
- Carotid artery disease
- Heart attack and coronary artery disease peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Metabolic syndrome
Below is a list of factors that may affect the rise in triglyceride levels:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Thyroid disease
- Excessive alcohol use
- Family history of high cholesterol
- Liver disease or kidney disease
- Medications include diuretics, hormones, corticosteroids, and beta-blockers
- A diet that is consist of high sugar and simple carbohydrates
Some drugs to decrease triglycerides have been prescribed to those with high levels. These might include medications that reduce cholesterol, such as statins.
How do you lower high triglycerides?
According to some studies, triglyceride levels decreased the most 6 months after starting a reduced-calorie diet Lifestyle changes can also help lower triglycerides, these include:
- Losing weight
- Regular physical activity
- Decreasing or stopping alcohol use
- Staying away from refined carbohydrates and sugar
- Eating healthier fats, such as those from plants and fish
Furthermore, scientists say that four grams daily of prescription omega-3 medication can remarkably reduce triglyceride levels.
What are the medications for high triglycerides?
People with high triglycerides have been prescribed some medications to lower them. These may include cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins. If healthy lifestyle changes aren’t doing enough to lower your triglycerides, your doctor might recommend:
- Statins. These cholesterol-lowering medications can be recommended if you also have poor cholesterol numbers or a history of having blocked arteries or diabetes. Some examples of statins are atorvastatin calcium (Lipitor) and rosuvastatin calcium (Crestor).
- Fibrates. Fibrate medications, such as fenofibrate (TriCor, Fenoglide, and others) and gemfibrozil (Lopid), can help with your high triglyceride levels. Fibrates can’t be used if you have severe kidney or liver disease.
- Fish oil. Also known as omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil can help lower the triglycerides in your body. Prescription fish oil preparations, such as Lovaza, contain more active fatty acids than many non-prescription meds. Fish oil taken at high levels can impede blood clotting, so consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.
- Niacin. Niacin, sometimes called nicotinic acid, can lower triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as the “bad” cholesterol. Talk to your doctor before consuming over-the-counter niacin because it can interconnect with other medications you’re taking and cause significant side effects.
Where are triglycerides synthesized?
Either the monoacylglycerol pathway or the glycerol-3-phosphate pathway can produce triglycerides. Most human body cells hydrolyze triglycerides through similar pathways. This happens generally with a common purpose of providing fatty acids for the energy demands of the body.
Where in the body are the majority of triglycerides stored for future energy needs?
Triglycerides that are in excess can be stored in the liver or in fat cells to provide the body with energy if needed. As triglycerides are a stored energy source, this is a natural mechanism that gives the body a steady stream of energy, especially in between meals.
When triglyceride storages need to be activated, the hormone glucagon is produced, signaling lipases to begin the process and release the fatty acids. This permits the triglycerides to go through the bloodstream once more and give the body cells that require it energy.
Why are triglycerides more effective in energy storage than carbohydrates or glucose?
Triglycerides can serve as reliable long-term energy storage molecules because they will not mix with water and won’t break down. We can also eat them (from delicious fried foods) and break them down to get energy. They are made up of a glycerol core attached to three fatty acid chains.
What is a Triglycerides Test?
A triglycerides test is a blood test used to gauge how much fat is present in your system. It can help you decide if you would need to take action to lower or prevent hazardous risks.
Using a tiny needle, a medical practitioner will draw blood for the test from a vein in your arm. A little blood will be extracted and put into a vial after the needle is inserted. Usually, this process is completed within five minutes.
High triglyceride levels become more of a problem as we grow older. As the risk rises, your healthcare provider might recommend doing tests more often. For younger adults, cholesterol tests every four to six years might be needed. If you have diabetes, have a family history of high cholesterol, or suffer from other heart disease risk factors, you may need more regular tests. Men ages 45 to 55 and women ages 55 to 65 need annual tests. Children will also need cholesterol and triglyceride tests. They usually get tested between ages 9 and 11, and again during young adulthood (between 17 and 21).