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What are Triglycerides?

  • Triglycerides are another form of fat produced in the liver and found in the blood.

  • High triglyceride levels are associated with high total cholesterol levels, which include a high LDL (bad) level and a low HDL (good) level. Many people with heart disease and/or diabetes also have high triglyceride levels.

How and where does my body get triglycerides?

Triglycerides are found in 2 places:

  • Triglycerides are produced in your liver, after which they are found in the bloodstream.
  • Triglycerides are also found in foods.

What causes high triglyceride levels?

  • High levels of triglycerides in your blood can be any one or a combination of the following factors:
    • Cigarette smoking,
    • Being overweight or obesity,
    • Excessive alcohol consumption,
    • Physical inactivity
    • A very high carbohydrate diet (a diet where 60% of total calories or more come from carbohydrates).

What are the numbers in my triglyceride count, and what do they mean?

  • Recent research indicates that triglyceride levels that are borderline high (150–199 mg/dL) or high (200–499 mg/dL) may increase your risk for heart disease.
  • Levels of 500 mg/dL or more need to be lowered with medication to prevent the pancreas from becoming inflamed.
  • A triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or higher also is one of the risk factors of the metabolic syndrome.

This helpful table outlines triglyceride numbers and what those numbers mean:

Triglycerides Levels What These Levels Mean For You
Below 150 mg/dL Excellent – this should be your goal
150 – 199 mg/dL Borderline High
200 – 499 mg/dL Bad – High Risk for Heart Disease
500 mg/dL and above Very High – High Risk for Heart Disease

How can I reduce my blood triglyceride levels?

  • To reduce blood triglyceride levels:
    • Control your weight
    • Be physically active
    • Don’t smoke
    • Limit alcohol intake
    • Limit simple sugars in your diet
    • Limit sugar-sweetened beverages you consume
    • Sometimes, medication is needed to control triglyceride levels

Speak with your doctor to see what treatment options are right for you.

Content Created/Medically Reviewed by our Expert Doctors
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