Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists in food and in the body
When triglyceride levels are high, it can be associated with coronary artery disease and stroke.
Causes may include:
It is more common for older adults, especially men, to have high triglycerides. Facters that may increase your risk of high triglycerides include:
High triglyceride levels
not cause symptoms. Very high levels of
triglycerides can cause:
Elevated triglyceride levels
can increase your risk of
atherosclerosis. This is a dangerous hardening of the arteries. It can end up blocking blood flow. In some cases, this may result in:
This condition is diagnosed with blood tests. These tests measure the levels of
in the blood. The National Cholesterol Education Program advises that you have your lipids checked at least once every 5 years, starting at age 20. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends lipid screening for children at risk, such as those with
a family history of
or significant obesity starting between 2 to 8 years old. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends routine screening at 9 to 11 years old and again at 17 to 12 years old.
of a fasting
blood test including:
Your doctor may recommend more frequent or earlier testing if you have a:
Treatment is not only aimed at correcting triglyceride
levels, but also at lowering the overall risk for heart disease and stroke.
Dietary changes can help to lower triglyceride levels. These may include:
Lifestyle changes that can help lower triglyceride levels include:
There are a number of drugs available, such as
statins, to treat this condition and help lower the risk for heart disease.
have been shown to reduce
heart attacks, and stroke in patients with high triglycerides. Talk to your doctor about whether these medications are right for you.
These medications are best used as additions to diet and exercise and should not replace healthy lifestyle changes.
To help reduce your chance of getting hyperlipidemia, take the following steps:
American Heart Association
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Hypertriglyceridemia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115419/Hypertriglyceridemia. Updated July 6, 2016. Accessed September 28, 2016.
Side effects of anti-HIV medications. National Institutes of Health website. Available at:
http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/contentfiles/SideEffectAnitHIVMeds_cbrochure_en.pdf. Published October 2005. Accessed March 2, 2016.
What your cholesterol levels mean. American Heart Association website. Available at:
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/What-Your-Cholesterol-Levels-Mean_UCM_305562_Article.jsp. Updated October 19, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2016.
7/22/2008 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115419/Hypertriglyceridemia: Daniels SR, Greer FR; Committee on Nutrition. Lipid screening and cardiovascular health in childhood. Pediatrics. 2008;122:198-208.
Last reviewed March 2016 by Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
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