Importance of Triglycerides – Why This Test is Done

What are triglycerides?

Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. While you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals. In case you regularly consume more calories than you burn, specifically “easy” calories like carbohydrates and fat, you could have high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia).


Triglyceride, consist of foods such as meats, dairy products, and cooking oils. Triglycerides also comprise the fat, which human body stores in tissues.

Think before you eat:

Those eaten in foods are absorbed in the intestines and transported in the bloodstream to tissues where they’re stored as fat or used to provide energy. Triglycerides are also made in the liver. As an instance, when more calories are consumed than your body requires, the liver forms triglycerides that are then stored as fat.

Triglyceride levels are usually measured at the same time as those for blood cholesterol. To get an accurate reading the test for triglycerides should be performed when the body is in a fasting state – excluding water, no food or drink for at least 12 hours beforehand.

This is because a host of factors including recent food intake, exercise, medication or hormone levels, strongly influence triglyceride levels. Therefore doctors advise obtaining two fasting samples, if you suspect, take at different times if the diagnosis of hypertriglyceridemia (high triglyceride levels). Levels exceeding 2.0 mmol/ l, associate it with increasing the risk of CHD.

Why do Triglycerides matter?

Specialist associates high blood triglycerides with a high risk of developing coronary heart disease. The risk increases further, by the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors, particularly raises blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity or an adverse family history. A low level of HDL cholesterol, the beneficial kind of cholesterol that clears cholesterol from the bloodstream, often accompanies raised triglycerides.

A low HDL level is below 1.0 mmol/l. Furthermore, LDL cholesterol, the bad kind, tends to form smaller particles if the triglycerides are also high which promote more easily the process of atherosclerosis, whereby arteries become blocked by cholesterol deposits in their walls. People with hypertriglyceridemia may also have disturbances of their blood clotting mechanisms. Doctors describe Abnormalities, both in coagulation factors and the mechanisms involved in breaking down clots which, if allowed to form in coronary arteries, can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Why go for triglyceride level test?

The triglyceride level test will help your doctor determine your risk of developing heart disease. It helps estimate the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood. It can show if you have inflammation in your pancreas and if you’re at risk of developing atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs when fat builds up in your arteries. It can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

You should have a lipid profile done every five years as part of your regular medical exam. The lipid profile tests your levels of the following:-

  • cholesterol
  • HDL
  • LDL
  • triglycerides

If you’re receiving treatment for a high triglyceride level, your doctor will order this test more frequently to monitor the effectiveness of your treatment. If you have pre-diabetes or diabetes, it’s important to monitor your triglyceride level regularly because triglycerides will increase when you aren’t properly maintaining your blood sugar levels.

Children may also need this test if they’re at an increased risk of developing heart disease. This includes children who are overweight or who have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Children at increased risk of developing heart disease will need this test between 2 and 10 years of age.

Although it’s a common problem, many of us don’t know the first thing about high triglycerides. Studies have consistently linked high triglycerides levels with heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke, especially in people with low levels of “good” cholesterol and in those with type 2 diabetes.

The good information is that there’s a lot that you can do on your own to lower triglycerides and improve health. First, find out if your triglycerides are high. Then, find out what to do about it.

Here are the levels, based on a fasting blood test:-

  • Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL
  • Borderline: 150 to 199 mg/dL
  • High: 200 to 499 mg/dL
  • Very High: 500 mg/dL or above


Although finding out that you have high triglycerides might be upsetting, there’s a lot you can do on your own to lower them. Making changes to your lifestyle can have a dramatic benefit.


When it comes to cholesterol and triglycerides, perhaps the most important thing is to get regular checkups. If your triglycerides are high, you and your doctor can decide on a treatment plan and you can make a few simple but effective changes to your lifestyle. Your doctor will usually check for high triglycerides as part of a cholesterol test (sometimes called a lipid panel or lipid profile). Take fast for nine to 12 hours before blood drawning process, for an accurate triglyceride measurement.

If your doctor prescribes medication to lower your triglycerides, take the medication as prescribed. And remember the significance of the healthy lifestyle changes you’ve made. Medications can help but lifestyle matters, too. As with all lipid disorders, diet and lifestyle measures are the cornerstones of treatment. Triglycerides tend to be very responsive to changes in diet and health behaviors.

When you talk to your doctor, discuss all of the medicines, supplements, and vitamins you take. Some common drugs like beta-blockers, birth control pills, and diuretics can cause high triglycerides as a side effect. It’s possible that one of them could be causing your problem. Overall, remember that improving diet will lower triglycerides and also the risk of heart and blood vessel problems.

Leave a Reply