Q. Â Â What are Triglycerides, should I be concerned? Â Â I received my blood test last week and my triglyceride count was 184. Â I was told this is average for my age. Â I also had another friend of mine tell me this is high. Â I’m not sure I understand what this means to my health. Â Can you help provide a little insight?
A. Â Â Â In a world where everyone is pinched for time; meal preparations within most family units now rely heavily on processed foods for convenience. Â Our country has an obesity epidemic in mass proportions occurring especially seen within our children. Â It is my opinion triglycerides should be as concerning to an individual that watches their cholesterol intake. Â If you are concerned about your cholesterol also take stock of your triglyceride count. Â Â Before I answer your question directly, let me provide a brief outline of what triglycerides represent to our health and why we should care about them.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood much like cholesterol.Â Â Neither one of these fats can dissolve in the blood.Â Both fats use lipoproteins to circulate these fats throughout the body to be used by the metabolism. Â Cholesterol function is to build cells and various hormones. Â Triglyceride function is to provide the body with energy.Â Â However, too much (high levels) of either of these blood fats for long periods of time create health risk and disease. Â High triglycerides like cholesterol is thought to cause, or contribute to hardening of the arteries, or increasing the artery wall thickness (atherosclerosis). Â Most of us know these conditions can lead to stroke, heart attack and heart disease. Â High triglycerides also may trigger diabetes, Â or create disease in the thyroid, liver and kidney. Â Suspect you may have high triglyceride levels in your blood if you have too much fat around the waist. Â “More often than not,” obesity and disease have a direct correlation with high triglycerides, high cholesterol, High blood sugar (glucose) and high blood pressure. Â Check your “health risk” to potential disease by entering your weight/height into our fitness calculator at ourÂ healthblog page tab (click on the Fitness Calculator Link).
Without a blood test to indicate your level of triglycerides, one may suspect an elevation of the two blood fats if you typically over consume without regard to food intake. Â This is not to say one consumes more, or less fatty, or cholesterol type foods. Â Blood counts could be inverted. Â In other words, you may watch your cholesterol, but because of other food choices, or hormone inefficiencies, consumption of triglycerides in your foods, or hormones don’t store blood fats adequately which can create a constant elevation of Â triglycerides above normal levels (hypertriglyceridemia).
Although I believe your triglyceride levels appear decent opposed to many other counts I have seen, the normal level within the medical community sees a normal triglyceride level to be less than 150mg/dl.Â Â Your count of 184 is considered “Borderline High 150 to 199 mg/dl. Â High 200 to 499mg/dl, Very High 500mg/dl or above. Note: Â Prescriptions can elevate your triglyceride levels, such as birth control pills, diuretics, steroids and breast cancer drug Tamoxifen, etc.Â
Â 1. Â Maintain “Ideal Body Weight,” Use our Fitness Calculator at home site to determine your IBW.
2. Â Reduce excess calorie consumption, especially baked goods, processed foods, sugar, white flour.Â
3. Â Reduce trans fats found in many baked goods, cooking, crackers, chips, snack cakes etc. Â Note – Just because a product states low trans fat there is still trans fat in most of these types of foods! Â Even low level trans fat consumption could increase risk of disease.
4. Â Avoid Alcohol.
5. Â Exercise aerobically at least 30 minutes daily.
Author: Â Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.Â 2008 Copyright.Â All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing, www.mirrorathlete.org,Â Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.