What is triglyceride? What does high triglyceride mean?

By | 2 June 2021

Triglycerides, one of the parameters frequently checked in routine blood tests, can be effective in the emergence of many diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases. Triglycerides, which have duties in various fields such as ensuring the working order of the endocrine system in the body, bring dangerous formations on the vessel walls as their levels increase in the blood. Therefore, the level of triglycerides in the blood must be within certain ranges. If the blood triglyceride level falls below the required ranges, it is called low triglyceride, and if it is excessively high, it is called high triglyceride. Both conditions can lead to adverse health effects.

What is triglyceride?

Triglyceride levels are another factor that is investigated together with blood pressure and cholesterol levels to determine the risks related to heart health. For those looking for an answer to the question of what triglyceride means, the shortest definition is that it is a type of lipid (fat) found in the blood. Fats that are taken with food and do not need instant use are stored in the body in the form of triglycerides. These deposits are located in adipose tissue (adipose tissue). In cases of need such as between meals, activities that require more energy such as sports, long-term hunger, or hormone production, triglycerides in these stores are used. Triglyceride levels in the blood may increase due to reasons such as the energy taken into the body with food is higher than the energy spent in the body for a long time, especially the frequent consumption of foods with high carbohydrate and fat content. This condition is also called hypertriglyceridemia.

In blood tests performed to investigate blood lipids, triglyceride levels are also examined in addition to lipids such as total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and VLDL. For the most accurate result, you should fast for 12 hours before the blood sample is taken. If we come to the answer to the question of how many triglycerides should be; The blood triglyceride level, which should be in a healthy adult individual, is below 150 mg/dL. Values ​​in the 150-199 mg/dL range indicate borderline high triglyceride levels, values ​​in the 200-499 mg/dL range indicate high, and above 500 mg/dL indicate very high triglyceride levels.

What is triglyceride elevation?

A triglyceride level in the blood above 150 mg/dL is called high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia). Since high triglyceride levels are considered a first-degree risk factor for the development of heart diseases, they must be kept under control. Due to high triglyceride levels for a long time, a hardening problem occurs in the arterial walls and this causes the disease called atherosclerosis. arteriosclerosis; Chronic heart diseases are one of the most important causes of heart attack and stroke. In addition, it is known that high triglyceride levels can be effective in the development of pancreatic infections (acute pancreatitis).

In patients with blood triglyceride levels in the range of 150-199 mg/dL, that is, borderline high, this may be due to a short-term irregular feeding problem. This situation can be easily solved by complying with the principles of healthy nutrition. However, if triglyceride levels cannot be reduced to normal ranges for a long time despite diet, drug therapy may be necessary to prevent the development of heart diseases.

What are the symptoms of high triglyceride levels?

Triglyceride elevation usually does not show symptoms unless it continues for a long time or is very advanced. However, if its blood value exceeds 500 mg/dL, it may present with some serious symptoms. The most common of these are:

  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Headache
  • feeling tired
  • Formation of nodules in the elbow and knee joints

These are symptoms seen in individuals with excessively elevated blood triglyceride levels. If the disease progresses to this level, the development of heart diseases and some other serious health problems become inevitable. To prevent these situations, triglyceride, cholesterol, and other blood lipids should be evaluated regularly with routine blood tests to be performed every 6 months, and the control interval should be kept shorter in elderly individuals.

What are the causes of high triglyceride levels?

Hypertriglyceridemia, which is a risk factor for liver, heart, and pancreatic diseases, is seen in many cases together with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. For this reason, studies are still continuing to investigate which of these diseases, which are related to each other, maybe caused by which. Some of the risk factors thought to be among the answers to the question of why the triglyceride rises are as follows:

  • Unhealthy and unbalanced diet
  • Consistently getting more energy than the body spends with food
  • Having a family history of high cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • genetic diseases
  • Obesity
  • Smoking and alcohol use
  • some drugs
  • Diseases related to thyroid metabolism
  • Poorly controlled type 2 diabetes
  • Acute or chronic liver and kidney diseases

All individuals, especially family members of patients treated for high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, should be screened for blood lipids from an early age at intervals recommended by family physicians.

How is high triglyceride treated?

To prevent heart, vascular, liver, and pancreatic diseases and to improve general health, blood lipids should be within the required ranges. In patients with high triglyceride levels, this condition is usually detected during the diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases associated with deterioration in blood lipids or during routine blood tests. In these individuals, firstly, information about diet and lifestyle is obtained and factors that may be effective in increasing triglyceride levels are investigated. Ensuring weight control is of great importance in terms of bringing the blood lipid profile to healthy values. Therefore, patients with high triglyceride levels should be referred to a dietitian by physicians. In addition to the principles of healthy nutrition, patients should be followed with a diet list in which they can reach their ideal weight, and it should be ensured that they reach their ideal weight according to their age. In this diet plan, refined sugar stored by converting excess into fat should be limited as much as possible, and carbohydrate needs should be met mainly with healthy whole grains and fruits. Saturated fat intake should be minimized, especially red meat consumption should be limited to two days a week. To help balance blood lipids, foods such as fish, seafood, and walnuts containing omega-3 fatty acids should be added to the diet at appropriate intervals.

One of the points that people looking for the answer to the question of how to reduce triglycerides should pay attention to is to abandon harmful habits. Patients who have the habit of using alcohol and smoking should quit these habits as soon as possible. If deemed necessary, referrals can be made to medical units that can support smoking and alcohol cessation. Regular exercise habits, which have very important effects on blood lipid balance, should be made a part of life. Cholesterol-lowering drugs may be recommended for patients who cannot be controlled with such lifestyle changes and whose hypertriglyceridemia continues. Cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood can be significantly reduced in many patients with drug therapy, a regular and balanced diet plan, and regular exercise, which will be recommended by the physician. In this way, the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases can be reduced, and the development of serious complications in existing heart patients can be prevented.

If you have also been diagnosed with high triglycerides, in addition to the above recommendations, you should definitely apply to a health institution and have the necessary examinations done. If you have not had a blood test to investigate your blood lipids for 6 months or more, you should take care to have these tests done regularly to be protected from cardiovascular diseases. You can take precautions by detecting a possible triglyceride level at an early stage with routine tests, and you can completely prevent more serious problems that you may encounter in the future with simple lifestyle changes.



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