What do Triglycerides levels mean for Your Overall Health?
Domlur, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
We always keep blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure under check. But triglyceride levels are hardly monitored. More often than not, triglyceride levels help avert a major health problem. However, before divulging into the benefits of keeping a tab on the triglyceride levels of your body, let’s find out what is means.
A. What are triglycerides and what makes them important?
After you eat, the body converts calories into triglycerides; not all calories, though, only the ones it doesn’t need to use right away. The body stores the triglycerides in your fat cells. So, what are triglycerides? They are simply a form of fat (lipid) found in the blood. In between meals or when the body is in need of energy, the hormones release triglycerides. Hence, triglycerides are good for the body. However, anything in excess is bad. If the level of triglycerides is more, then, it can lead to a heart disease or may point towards metabolic syndrome.
B. Do I have high triglyceride levels in my body?
Well, may be or maybe not. If you regularly take in more calories (particularly “easy” calories such as carbohydrates and fats) than you burn, then the chances of you having elevated triglyceride levels (hypertriglyceridemia) are quite high. But please do not self-assume. Just like a blood test for cholesterol, there is a blood test to check the triglyceride levels in your body.
The test is asked for by a medical practitioner and only he/she will be able to check and determine the level of triglycerides in your body. The triglyceride level test may be done as part of a cholesterol test. This blood test may sometimes be referred to as a lipid panel or lipid profile check. Generally, you are advised to fast for nine to 12 hours before blood is drawn for an accurate triglyceride measurement.
C. Range of triglyceride level test
D. Other conditions that cause high triglycerides
Though intake of loads of calories is one major reason for high triglyceride levels, there are various other reasons too. Conditions such obesity, hypothyroidism, diabetes (or the lack of control of it), or kidney disease, can be the reason for elevated triglyceride levels. Even pregnancy or excessive alcohol consumption can lead to an increase in the level of triglyceride in the body. Hereditary factors may also contribute to high triglyceride levels.
E. What are the dangers of high triglyceride levels?
High triglyceride levels are a sign of other conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, including obesity and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a condition characterised by too much around the waist, high BP, high triglycerides, high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol levels. In rare cases, high triglyceride levels may also lead to acute pancreatitis.
F. Symptoms of high triglycerides
Usually, the body shows no signs or symptoms of suffering from high triglycerides. Also, there are no visual signs of having high triglyceride levels. If your triglycerides are caused by a genetic condition, you may find visible fatty spots under the skin called Xanthomas.
G. How can high triglyceride levels be lowered?
If your doctor detects that the triglyceride level in your body is high, he/she may ask you to alter your lifestyle and diet. This is because lifestyle choices that promote overall health can help bring down your triglycerides. You may be recommended to keep your weight in check, which can be achieved by limited fat and sugar intake. A diet rich in fiber content, whole foods, plant-based food items without added fats will be asked to follow, while white flours, added sugars, and juices will be asked to avoid. Regular exercise and overall, a more active lifestyle will be appreciated. You will also be advised to quit smoking and limit your alcohol intake.
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