Triglycerides are a form of fat that is stored in the blood. Humans need to eat to keep all the cells in their bodies well nourished. The calories that aren’t used right away are converted to triglycerides. The triglycerides are used to provide energy in between meals.
Someone who consumes more calories than they burn off may have high triglyceride levels. To determine a patient’s triglyceride levels, a doctor orders a blood test to measure the level after the person has fasted for between 9-12 hours.
The normal range for triglycerides is 150 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) or less. A person with triglyceride levels between 150-199 mg/dL is considered to be borderline high. Once the level hits 200 mg/dL or more, the triglyceride level is considered high. Anything over 500 mg/dL is very high.
High triglyceride levels can contribute to hardening of the arteries, which is one of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke. This condition may also indicate Type 2 diabetes or a thyroid problem.
How to Lower Triglyceride Levels
Once a diagnosis of high triglyceride levels has been made, some lifestyle changes need to be made:
- Reduce daily calorie intake
Since consuming too many calories is the reason for high triglyceride levels, keeping closer track of them is key to bringing the levels down.
- Get regular exercise
Being physically active burns calories and helps to lower bad cholesterol as well. Going to the gym isn’t the only way to add more exercise to your daily routine. Anything that gets the heart rate elevated will have health benefits. Walking, swimming, or gardening are all good choices. Signing up for an exercise class may also be helpful, since the fact that it takes place at a set time may help encourage participants to stick with it.
- Restrict Sugar and Trans Fat Intake
Both of these foods contribute to high triglyceride levels. Get in the habit of reading labels to check for partially hydrogenated oil, white flour and refined sugar and avoid foods containing these ingredients.