Lipid Panel

Triglycerides

Optimal Result: 0 - 149 mg/dL, or 0.00 - 1.68 mmol/L.

Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. When 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. If you regularly eat more calories than you burn, particularly “easy” calories like carbohydrates and fats, then you may have high triglycerides. Blood tests for triglycerides are usually part of a lipid profile that is used to help identity an individual’s risk of developing heart disease and to help make decisions about what treatment may be needed if there is borderline or high risk. As part of a lipid profile, it may be used to monitor people who have risk factors for heart disease, those who have had heart attack, or those who are being treated for high lipid and/or high triglyceride levels. Results of the cholesterol test and other components of the lipid profile are used along with other known risk factors of heart disease to develop a plan of treatment and follow-up. Treatment options may include lifestyle changes such as diet or exercise programs or lipid-lowering drugs such as statins. Cholesterol testing is recommended for children, young adults, and adults with no risk factors for heart disease at least every four to six years and at more frequent intervals when a person has one or more of the following risk factors:

- Cigarette smoking

- Being overweight or obese

- Having an unhealthy diet

- Not getting enough exercise

- Age (men 45 years or older or women 55 years or older)

- Having high blood pressure

- Family history of heart disease

- Having diabetes or prediabetes

- Having pre-existing heart disease or already having had a heart attack

Normal Ranges:

Adult triglyceride levels in mg/dL

Risk of heart disease (independent of other risk factors)

>500

Very high risk

200-499

High risk

150-199

Borderline high risk

<150

Low risk

 

Newborn to age nine triglyceride levels in mg/dL

Risk of heart disease (independent of other risk factors)

>100

High risk

75-99

Borderline high risk

<75

Low risk

 

Ages 10-19 triglyceride levels in mg/dL

Risk of heart disease (independent of other risk factors)

>130

High risk

90-129

Borderline high risk

<90

Low risk

What does it mean if your Triglycerides result is too low?

A low level of triglycerides is desirable in that it lowers your risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

What does it mean if your Triglycerides result is too high?

If your total triglycerides test result has been reported as high, this means you have too much fat in your blood. The causes of raised triglycerides can be due to a high fat diet, excessive alcohol consumption, certain medications (Beta Blockers for example), certain conditions such as hypothyroidism-underactive thyroid, family history and genetic conditions. High triglycerides can lead to arthrosclerosis which is hardening or thickening of the arteries in your brain, heart or kidneys. This can lead to angina, heart attacks, kidney diseases or strokes.

The easiest lifestyle adjustment you can make to lower triglycerides is to eat better and exercise more. Specifically:

- Eat foods that are low in fat and cholesterol

- Eat fiber rich food

- Exercise at least 2.5 hours / week

- Lower stress

- Limit alcohol intake

- Quit smoking

It is worth noting that triglyceride levels are usually elevated during pregnancy.

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