By Apollo 24/7, Published on - 19 July 2021
Triglycerides are a type of common fat stored in the cells and used to generate energy in times of need. Fat is essential for the human body as it serves several purposes - providing energy, protecting various organs, promoting cell growth, maintaining blood pressure, and also helping in the absorption of several vitamins. However, high triglyceride levels in the blood can increase the risk of developing various heart diseases and metabolic syndrome. Eating foods high in saturated and trans fats such as sugar, butter, red meat, baked food, etc. can increase the levels of triglycerides in the body.
High levels of triglycerides in the blood, also known as hypertriglyceridemia, can increase the risk of pancreatitis (severe and painful inflammation of the pancreas) and cardiovascular diseases such as carotid artery disease, coronary artery disease, metabolic syndrome (characterized by high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity), peripheral artery disease (PAD), heart attack, and stroke.
Since high triglyceride levels itself may not cause any symptoms, a blood test (called lipid profile) is done to determine the levels of triglycerides in the body. The results of the test can be interpreted based on the absolute value of the triglyceride level:
Factors that may increase the triglyceride levels in the body include:
Cholesterol in the human body comes from the food we eat and the liver. However, since the pure form of cholesterol is unable to dissolve in the blood, the liver combines it with triglycerides and lipoproteins. The lipoproteins are a type of protein that allows the movement of cholesterol-rich blood throughout the body.
The liver forms three types of lipoproteins: very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs), high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), and low-density lipoproteins (LDLs). While LDL and HDL carry cholesterol, VLDL carries triglycerides.
LDL is also known as "bad cholesterol” as it can form plaque in the arteries (called atherosclerosis). LDL can narrow or block the arteries, increasing the risk for heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease (PAD).
HDL is known as "good cholesterol” as it carries LDL away from the arteries, back to the liver. The liver then breaks down the bad cholesterol and passes it out of the body. High levels of HDL indicate that the cholesterol is being regulated in the body effectively.
Measures that may help reduce and maintain triglyceride levels include:
Triglyceride levels must be kept under control to reduce the risk of cardiac emergencies and metabolic disorders. People who have diabetes or have any atherosclerotic disease should get their cholesterol and triglycerides tested once every 6 months. A nutritious diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting unhealthy habits can help get the fat levels back to normal. Some people may require cholesterol-lowering medications such as statins to reduce triglyceride levels.
If you have any questions related to the heart, you can talk to a cardiologist.
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Both high and low blood pressure can be extremely dangerous and can result in serious health consequences. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor blood pressure frequently.
Excessive consumption of alcohol is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke and other complications.
An angiogram is performed to check for anomalies in the blood vessels that may be causing issues in the brain, heart, abdomen, kidneys, and even legs.
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