What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists in food as well as in the body.
Triglycerides in plasma come from the fats in foods or made from other energy sources like carbohydrates. Calories not used immediately are converted to triglycerides and transported to fat cells for storage. Hormones regulate the release of triglycerides from fat tissue to meet the body's needs for energy.
What are Blood Lipid Levels
Triglycerides and cholesterol together in your blood plasma make up your blood plasma lipid levels. If your doctor tells you about your blood lipid levels, they are talking about cholesterol and triglycerides.
How are high triglyceride levels harmful?
Excess triglycerides in plasma is called hypertriglyceridemia. It can be linked to the risk of coronary artery disease in some people. Elevated triglyceride levels may be influenced by other diseases such as diabetes. Like cholesterol, increases in triglyceride levels can be detected by plasma measurements. For more accurate results, these tests should be done after a night and morning of fasting. Sugar intake may affect results, so water only intake is the most prefered type of fasting.
*Based on fasting plasma triglyceride levels as indicated by the National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines for triglycerides.
Lowering Your Triglycerides
If you are overweight, cut down on calories to reach your ideal body weight. This includes all sources of calories (fats, proteins, carbohydrates and alcohol).
Reduce saturated fat, trans fat and the cholesterol content of your diet.
Reduce intake of alcohol. Even small amounts of alcohol can lead to large changes in triglyceride levels.
Eat vegetables, fruits, and nonfat or low-fat dairy products most often.
Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on five or more days each week.
Substitute fish high in omega-3 fatty acids instead of meats high in saturated fat like hamburger. Fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Stop Smoking! Tobacco smoke is a major risk factor of heart disease and stroke. Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol levels, increases triglyceride levels, damages the lining of blood vessels and increases the risk of forming a dangerous blood clot.