Overview of triglycerides
Triglycerides are such compounds which are digested by the body to release energy for the body metabolic processes. These are the common type of fat found in the human body. Its main source is mainly vegetable oils and animal fats like in red meat.
The molecule of triglyceride is a kind of chemical glycerol which contains three fatty acids. During the absorption process in the small intestine of the body, these molecules break up and reassemble with cholesterol molecules to form chylomicrons. It serves as an energy source for the body cells. Usually, fat cells and liver cells are the accessible storage sites for chylomicrons, later released when energy is required by the body.
High levels of triglycerides are a major risk factor for atherosclerosis, in which narrowing of the arteries is caused by plaque buildup. It might lead to fatal conditions like heart attack, peripheral artery disease, and stroke. Prominent long duration elevation of triglyceride levels even lead to fatty liver disease and pancreatitis.
Elevated levels of triglyceride in the blood can also be caused by several other diseases and conditions which includes:
- Kidney disease
- Uncontrolled diabetes condition
- Liver cirrhosis or any other liver diseases
- Few medications like diuretics, beta blockers, and contraceptives can also cause high triglyceride levels
- Excessive alcohol consumption can trigger the liver to produce more fatty acids.
However, there are also few beneficial aspects of moderate alcohol drinking. It is a common saying that one alcoholic beverage per day including a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, or even an ounce of any hard liquor might help in balancing the rise of triglyceride. Since moderate alcohol consumption might even cause a slight increase in the good cholesterol or HDL levels in the bloodstream. The red wine possesses antioxidants which further decreases the risk of heart diseases. Whatever may be the saying, but its never advisable to start drinking alcohol to improve cholesterol condition, it can only serve the purpose of taking precautions though.
How can you measure your triglyceride levels?
The measurement of triglyceride levels in the blood is done by a simple blood test. Usually, triglycerides are measured as part of lipid panel or a lipoprotein panel in which HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels, checked at the same time.
No specific pre-test preparations are required except 8 to 10 hours of fasting prior test to avoid any false results. Since blood fat levels can be affected by recent eating and digestion process.
If you have not yet given importance to routine blood tests then its high time to get the evaluation done for precautionary measures so, get a triglyceride level test in a complete Cholesterol Profile.
What are the normal recommended triglyceride levels?
Elevation in triglyceride levels causes a risk for atherosclerosis. Triglyceride and cholesterol levels measurement is done via a simple blood test which can let you know how prone you are towards the risks.
Following are the optimal ranges of it:
- Normal triglyceride levels, considered if a person has < 150 mg/dL of triglycerides in the blood sample.
- Borderline triglyceride, considered if a person has triglycerides between 150-200 mg/dL in the blood sample.
- High levels of triglycerides usually values of > 200 mg/dl are linked up with a high risk of atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, and stroke.
- Extremely high levels of triglyceride usually value > 500mg/dl might cause inflammation of the pancreas, also known as pancreatitis.
What are the treatment options to lower triglycerides?
Triglycerides are a sort of fat found in the blood. Their high levels cause risks of several heart diseases mainly. So its early detection and treatment are necessary to avoid any future complications and diseases. Its normal values, below 150 mg/dL whereas above 200 mg/dL are considered an extremely high levels.
Several factors govern the levels of triglycerides which include:
- Physical inactivity or sedentary lifestyle causes several problems and abnormal high triglyceride level is one of them.
- Smoking is anyways not good for healthy however, it causes risks of heart diseases by fluctuating triglyceride and cholesterol levels of a person.
- Overweight or obesity is another cause of high levels of triglycerides.
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
- Carbohydrates-rich diet causes the spike.
- Few diseases and medications raise levels.
- Hereditary or genetic defects also cause the numbers to increase abnormally.
However, triglyceride levels still can be lowered by combining few following lifestyle changes in order to control the numbers:
- Smoking cessation and limiting alcohol consumption helps a lot in bringing triglyceride levels down along with cholesterol levels and together all of them in low values prevent disease risks.
- Taking a healthy low fat, low carb high protein and fiber content balanced diet also helps to achieve required body weight and avoiding excess weight put on which helps in keeping levels of triglyceride in control.
- Exercising on a routine basis is a must for a healthy lifestyle and good health. So you must follow a daily routine of exercise even if you manage to do it for 15 to 30 minutes is good enough.
- Sometimes only lifestyle changes cannot put a control over extreme high levels of triglycerides so medication therapy becomes a must in such scenarios. Your physician can prescribe you what best can help you with all available medical options after evaluating your test reports and other disease conditions.
Getting tests done at regular intervals to know the values of triglyceride is essential along with following a good lifestyle and exercise to keep triglyceride issues at bay. Otherwise, your health might have to pay off in future with diseases and sufferings.