High Blood Triglycerides
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High Blood Triglycerides

High Blood Triglycerides High Blood Triglycerides

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Elderly man eating a bowl of vegetablesTriglycerides are a type of fat that circulates in your blood. Your body makes triglycerides or gets them from the foods you eat. Your body needs some triglycerides for good health. However, high triglycerides in your blood can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke.

High blood triglycerides are a type of lipids disorder, or dyslipidemia. This condition may occur on its own, with other lipid disorders such as high blood cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol, or as part of metabolic syndrome.

You can lower triglycerides in your blood by making heart-healthy living changes.

Certain medical conditions, genetic, lifestyle habits, and some medicines are all risk factors for high blood triglycerides. Medical conditions that may increase blood triglyceride levels include:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Thyroid disease

Sometimes the genes you inherited can cause high blood triglyceride levels. Being physically inactive, eating foods that are high in fat and sugar, or drinking too much alcohol may increase blood triglycerides. Some medicines used to treat breast cancer, high blood pressure, HIV, and other conditions may also raise blood triglyceride levels.

What are the symptoms?

High blood triglycerides usually do not cause any symptoms. Untreated or uncontrolled high blood triglyceride levels may increase your risk of serious complications such as coronary heart disease and stroke.

Very high blood triglycerides can raise the risk of acute pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas that causes severe pain in the abdomen.

What are normal triglyceride levels?

Normal fasting blood triglyceride levels are:

  • Lower than 150 mg/dL for adults
  • Lower than 90 mg/dL for children ages 10 to 19

Your doctor may diagnose you with high blood triglycerides if your fasting blood triglyceride levels are consistently 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher.

Talk to your doctor about what your numbers mean for you. 
 

How can you lower triglyceride levels?

If you are diagnosed with high blood triglycerides, your doctor may first recommend that you adopt heart-healthy lifestyle changes. These may include:

  • Choosing heart-healthy foods and limiting alcohol, added sugars, and foods high in saturated fat
  • Getting regular physical activity
  • Quitting smoking
  • Aiming for a healthy weight
  • Getting enough good quality sleep
  • Managing stress

Can medicines help?

Your doctor may prescribe medicines such as fibrates, omega-3 fatty acids, nicotinic acid, or statins to control or lower your triglyceride levels.

Join a clinical trial 

The NHLBI leads and supports many clinical trials on high blood triglycerides. See if you or someone you love is eligible to join a clinical trial. 

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