High levels of triglycerides indicate a higher risk for coronary heart diseases. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood which have been found to contribute to heart diseases. These fats are formed from calories that are not readily consumed and are stored in fat cells for future use, usually for your activities in between meals. When your body needs fuel for physical activities, triglycerides are burned as energy.
However, if you consume more than you burn, your body will have higher than normal levels stored in your fat cells. According to the American Heart Association, a triglyceride level of 100 milligrams per deciliter of blood or lower is considered “optimal” for good health. A level of 200 mg/dL and above is considered high and needs to be managed accordingly. When the amount of triglycerides in the blood reaches this level, it is important to modify your lifestyle. Proper diet, weight loss, and regular exercise are some of the key aspects you can introduce in order to reduce these harmful fats.
Like cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides aid the hardening of arteries and thickening of the artery walls. This is a condition known as atherosclerosis. Triglycerides are different from cholesterols in that they are stored energy, while cholesterols are used in the production of cells and hormones. Both contribute in the development of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis significantly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and leads to certain types of fatigue. It may also lead to obesity and metabolic syndrome. Triglycerides my also contribute to type 2 diabetes, liver disease and kidney problems.
In addition to eating more calories than you can burn, abnormal increases in triglyceride levels may also be caused by birth control pills, diuretics, and steroid intake.
Reducing Triglyceride Levels
There are many ways to reduce the levels of this unhealthy type of fat. One sure way is lose weight. Another is to significantly limit intake of fatty foods. Eating smaller portions of lean meats and vegetables is very important. You may also want to reduce sugary foods and add more omega 3-rich fish, instead of red meat. Consumption of alcohol can raise triglyceride levels, so limiting it’s intake can be important as well.
Finally, regular exercise can help increase the level of good cholesterol and reduce the levels bad cholesterol. Many doctors recommend exercising for at least 20 minutes per day to achieve significant benefits. In addition to altering lifestyle, certain supplements such as niacin, fibrates, and omega-3 fatty acids may be used to lower levels of this fat.