What are Triglycerides, and why do they matter?1
- Triglycerides are a type of lipid, or fat, found in your blood. When you eat, calories that are not used immediately are converted into triglycerides, which are stored in your fat cells to be released later when needed for energy.
- People who regularly eat more calories than they burn, especially from foods that are high in carbohydrates, may have high triglycerides, which is called hypertriglyceridemia.
- High triglycerides can contribute to arteriosclerosis and pancreatitis, and may be a sign of other health issues.
- High triglycerides can by lowered by making healthy lifestyle choices, such as exercising regularly, losing weight, avoiding refined carbohydrates, choosing healthier fats, and limiting alcohol consumption.
- Your doctor may also prescribe medication to lower your triglycerides.
Triglycerides by the numbers2
The triglyceride level is determined by a blood test that measures the amount of triglycerides in your blood. As normal value ranges can vary among different laboratories, you should talk to your doctor about what your test results mean.
|NORMAL||BORDERLINE HIGH||HIGH||VERY HIGH|
|Less than 150 mg/dL||150 to 199 mg/dL||200 to 499 mg/dL||500 mg/dL or above|
What is cholesterol, and why does it matter?3
- Cholesterol is another type of lipid found in your blood. Your body uses it to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help your body digest foods and build cells.
- Your body makes plenty of cholesterol on its own, but cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources, like meat, cheese, and egg yolks. Eating too much of these foods can result in too much cholesterol in your blood.
- HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is often called “good” cholesterol, because it carries cholesterol back to the liver which removes it from your body.
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is often called “bad” cholesterol, because a high LDL level leads to the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
- High cholesterol can be lowered by making healthy lifestyle choices, such as healthy eating, weight management, regular physical activity, and quitting smoking.
- Your doctor may also prescribe medication to lower your cholesterol.
Cholesterol by the numbers
You and your doctor should work together to set your cholesterol goals. Your history and risk factor profile play a role in setting targets and utilizing medicines and doses to achieve them. Guidelines can change as further research is conducted. General targets are:
|70 to 130 mg/dL
(lower numbers are better)
|More than 50 mg/dL
(higher numbers are better)
|Less than 200 mg/dL
(lower numbers are better)
- Mayo Clinic. Triglycerides: Why do they matter? https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/triglycerides/art-20048186
- Mount Sinai. Triglyceride Level. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/tests/triglyceride-level
- NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine. Cholesterol. https://medlineplus.gov/cholesterol.html
- Mount Sinai. High blood cholesterol levels. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol-levels