August 10, 2009

Fats In Your Blood

What are triglycerides?

They are the most common type of fat in your body and a major source of energy.

When you eat excess calories the body stores them as fat regardless of what kind of food you eat. That is, carbohydrate, protein or fat.

Having high triglycerides on its own may not be an indicator of heart disease, but when high triglycerides are part of a group of symptoms called metabolic syndrome the converse may be true.

Metabolic Syndrome includes having:

  • Low “good” cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Too much fat around the waist
  • High triglycerides

Having the syndrome also increases the risk of diabetes and stroke.

How are triglycerides measured?

Triglycerides are measured as part of the blood test that measures cholesterol.


Triglycerides Levels (mg/100ml)

Good less than 150


What causes high triglycerides?

Conditions include:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Kidney disease
  • Excessive eating
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • An underactive thyroid

Medications that might raise triglycerides include:

  • Tamoxifen
  • Birth control pills
  • Eostrogen
  • Steroids
  • Diuretics
  • Beta-blockers

It is worth noting that suffering from high triglycerides may also be an inherited condition.

What are the symptoms of high triglycerides?

Usually, people with high triglycerides show no symptoms of the condition although in some rare cases they may suffer inflammation of the pancreas which can lead to severe abdominal pain, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting and fever.

When the high triglycerides are as a result of an inherited condition fatty deposits may appear under the skin.

How can you lower your high triglycerides?

If you are overweight the first plan should be to make a lifestyle change by eating fewer calories, limiting the consumption of fats, sugars and alcohol and exercising more. If this doesn’t work then there are medications like niacin and fibrates that may lower your triglycerides.

More On Triglycerides