Triglyceride Test (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Triglyceride test facts
- What are triglycerides?
- How are triglyceride levels measured?
- What are normal triglyceride levels, and what do high triglyceride levels mean?
- How can I lower my triglyceride levels?
- Changes in diet
How are triglyceride levels measured?
Triglyceride levels in the blood are measured by a simple blood test. Often, triglycerides are measured as part of a lipoprotein panel (lipid panel) in which triglycerides, cholesterol, HDL (high density lipoprotein), and LDL (low density lipoprotein) are measured at the same time.
Fasting for 8-12 hours before the test is required. Fat levels in the blood are affected by recent eating and digestion. Falsely elevated results may occur if the blood test is done just after eating.
What are normal triglyceride levels, and what do high triglyceride levels mean?
Elevated triglycerides place an individual at risk for atherosclerosis. Triglyceride and cholesterol levels are measured in the blood to provide a method of screening for this risk.
- Normal triglyceride levels in the blood are less than 150mg per deciliter (mg/dL).
- Borderline levels are between 150-200 mg/dL.
- High levels of triglycerides (greater than 200 mg/dl) are associated with a increased risk of atherosclerosis and therefore coronary artery disease and stroke.
- Extremely high triglyceride levels (greater than 500mg/dl) may cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
How can I lower my triglyceride levels?
Returning triglyceride levels to normal may decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease. Controlling high triglycerides and high cholesterol is a lifelong challenge. A healthy lifestyle includes eating well, exercising routinely, smoking cessation, and weight loss. This may be all that is needed, but some people additionally require medications to lower triglyceride levels in the blood. Your health-care professional will help make decisions with you to decide what treatment combination is most appropriate.
Next: Changes in diet
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