Medical professionals advise patients to know their numbers, and one of the most important to know is the triglyceride level. Keeping a tab on these fats is essential for heart health. High triglycerides may often be interrelated with other conditions including obesity, Type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome. All of these can lead to debilitating health concerns and should not be left untreated.
Like with other types of blood fats, high triglyceride levels are asymptomatic, so the problem is typically discovered through routine blood work. Having a regular physical is a key part of discovering a health issue before it becomes a crisis. Patients will typically need to fast for up to 12 hours prior to the test in order to get the most accurate results.
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood, and they are one of the results that appears in a cholesterol panel. While they help provide energy and aid in the production of certain hormones, triglycerides can also be harmful in excess.
Researchers have found that triglycerides contribute to atherosclerosis, which is the thickening and hardening of artery walls that can lead to stroke and heart attack.
One of the functions of a triglyceride is to store excess energy. Any unused calories are instantly turned into triglycerides, stored in the fat cells and then used as needed. People who regularly overeat may never give themselves an opportunity to use those stored fats, which can then build up to unhealthy levels in the blood.
High triglycerides could also result from some medication use, including beta blockers, diuretics, birth control pills and steroids.
In order to find out an individuals triglycerides level, a medical professional will conduct a test. The test is a simple blood test that will be able to determine the triglyceride levels in the body.
While drugs are a common line of defense against high cholesterol, medical professionals take a different approach to treatment of high triglycerides. This particular kind of fat responds very well to simple lifestyle changes, so doctors recommend healthier dietary choices and moderate exercise.
Eating better and moving more will lead to weight loss, and even a reduction of 10 pounds can have an impact on triglyceride levels.
Dietary choices should lean heavily toward fruits and vegetables. Because they are low-calorie foods, they give the body less material with which to manufacture triglycerides. Also avoid sweets and processed foods, which are typically higher in calories and contain high levels of carbohydrate - a much easier fuel for the body to burn than the stored fats that contain triglycerides.
If healthy food choices and moderate exercise don't lower triglycerides to acceptable levels, medications can help. Generally, doctors use medications to tackle cholesterol levels first, and then triglycerides respond more favorably.
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