Triglyceride Test

1 What is a Triglyceride Test?

Read on to learn more about triglyceride test.

Triglycerides are chemical compounds digested by the body to provide it with the energy for metabolism. They are the most common form of fat that we digest, and the main ingredient in vegetable oils and animal fats.

A person with elevated triglyceride levels can have a risk factor for atherosclerosis, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and the narrowing of arteries with the buildup of fatty plaques. This may lead to heart attack, fatty liver disease, and pancreatitis.

Elevated triglyceride levels can be associated with other diseases like poorly-controlled diabetes and kidney disease, but also with some medications (for example, beta blockers, diuretics, birth control pills).

Higher consumption of alcohol (more than a glass of wine, a bottle of beer or an ounce of hard liquor a day) can also raise triglyceride blood levels by causing the liver to produce more fatty acids.

Before a triglyceride test, fasting for 9-12 hours is required because the fat levels in the blood are affected by recent eating and digestion so results can be falsely elevated.

Normal triglyceride levels in the blood are less than 150mg per deciliter (mg/dL) and borderline levels are between 150-200 mg/dL.

High levels of triglycerides greater than 200 mg/dl are associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis and therefore coronary artery disease and stroke and extremely high triglyceride levels (greater than 500mg/dl) may cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

A person can return triglyceride levels to normal and control it with healthy lifestyle which includes:

  • Eating well (decreasing intake of sugar, changing white rice, bread, and pasta to brown, limiting or avoiding foods with saturated and trash fats like fried foods, butter, whole milk, meats, cheese and switching to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna)
  • Exercising routinely
  • Smoking cessation
  • Weight loss

Also, some people additionally require medications to lower triglyceride levels in the blood, but medication cannot replace diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle choices.