Thursday, February 7, 2013

High triglycerides? Here's what you can do about it

When you get your blood work, be sure to consider not only the "good" (HDL) and "bad" (LDL) cholesterol readings; also ask your doctor to assess whether that third thing the test measures -- triglycerides -- is within a healthy range.

Most of the sources I read say that a level at or above 200 is cause for concern.
This is a measure of fatty substances in your blood, and too high a reading can lead to significant health problems, including heart disease or stroke.
Here's advice (from Web MD) about ways to bring down your triglyceride reading.
  • Moderate exercise on five or more days each week can help lower triglyceride levels.
  • Losing 5%-10% of your weight can lower triglycerides. People with a healthy weight are more likely to have normal triglyceride levels. Belly fat is associated with higher levels.
  • Reducing saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol in your diet can improve triglyceride levels and help manage cholesterol. Eating less carbohydrates in your diet will also help lower triglyceride levels.
  • Drinking alcohol can raise triglyceride levels. Some studies show that drinking more than one drink a day for women or two for men can raise triglyceride levels by a lot. Some people with high triglycerides may need to cut out alcohol entirely.
  • Eating more fish high in omega-3s can lower triglyceride levels. Fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon are high in omega-3s. It may be hard to get enough omega-3s from food to help lower your triglycerides. Your doctor may recommend a supplement or prescription omega-3s.
If these steps don't provide enough relief, you may have to go on medication. This is something you'll have to take up with your physician.
Because I drink alcohol, I tend to have elevated triglycerides. That along with other considerations does cause me to cut back on drinking -- from time to time, at least.


  1. It's sad that a significant percentage of today's population show elevated levels of triglycerides. What's sadder is that it's a very solvable problem. If people would just learn to eat better and exercise more, this will be less of a problem.

    Sonja Howard @ (Brian A Jacobs, M.D.)

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