Triglyceride is a fatty substance similar to cholesterol. We need some
triglyceride, like we need some cholesterol. But, like cholesterol, too much
damages blood vessels and raises the risks for heart disease. A desirable
triglyceride level is less than 150mg/dl. 150-199mg/dl is considered borderline
high, 200-499mg/dl is high, and 500mg/d or more is very high.
|Less than 150 mg/dl
|500 mg/dl and higher
Many of the things that raise LDL can also raise triglycerides:
untreated diabetes, untreated hypothyroidism, chronic renal disease,
liver disease, and lack of estrogen in women. Triglycerides, as well as LDL and
total cholesterol tend to increase during the perimenopausal period, and HDL
decreases. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise during this
time will help minimize these lipid changes.
- Losing weight if obese, and
treating the above medical conditions as best as possible will help lower
triglycerides. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to increase estrogen levels is
not used to treat high triglycerides because of the other medical risks
associated with HRT.
- Excess alcohol intake raises triglycerides; decreasing or
stopping alcohol consumption will help lower high levels.
- Vegetarian or very low
fat diets that are very high in carbohydrates, or diets high in refined
carbohydrates, can raise triglycerides. Changing the
diet to reduce
carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates, and sometimes increasing
protein and/or replacing saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet with healthy
fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) can help lower triglycerides.
- Quitting smoking has also been shown to reduce triglycerides.
A small proportion of people with very high triglycerides are deficient in
lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme needed to process triglycerides. This is most
often treated with medication and by reducing fat in the diet to less than 10%.
Your doctor can let you know if this pertains to you.