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How Much Do You Know About Triglycerides?
What Are Triglycerides?
How High Is Too High?
- Normal—less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) (1.7 mmol/L)
- Borderline high—150-199 mg/dL (1.7-2.2 mmol/L)
- High—200-499 mg/dL (2.3-5.6 mmol/L)
- Very high—more than or equal to 500 mg/dL (5.7 mmol/L)
Ways to Tame Triglycerides
- Increase physical activity —Aerobic exercise can help with weight loss and can decrease triglyceride levels at the same time. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week. First get approval from your doctor.
- Maintain a healthy weight—Studies have shown losing weight and maintaining an ideal weight to be associated with decreased levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
- Eat fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy products—Include these choices as part of your healthy diet.
- Choose fats wisely —Instead of choosing foods high in saturated and trans fats, pick food that contains unsaturated fat. Examples include certain oils (eg, olive, corn, canola), nuts, seeds, avocados, and food with omega-3 fatty acids (eg, fish, flaxseed).
- Eat more fish —Omega-3 fatty acids are found in all types of fish, but are more abundant in fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines, and herring. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include tofu, soybeans, flaxseed, canola oil, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.
- Limit alcohol —According to the American Heart Association (AHA), small amounts of alcohol can increase triglyceride levels.
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/
National Cholesterol Education Program http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/ncep/index.htm/
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
ATP III guidelines at-a-glance quick desk reference. National Cholesterol Education Program website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/cholesterol/atglance.pdf. Published May 2001. August 16, 2012.
Austin MA, et al. Cardiovascular disease mortality in familial forms of hypertriglyceridemia: a 20-year prospective study. Circulation . 2000;101:2777-2782.
High blood cholesterol: what you need to know. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/chol/wyntk.htm . Updated June 2005. Accessed August 16, 2012.
Hypertriglyceridemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated July 19, 2012. Accessed August 16, 2012.
Physical activity for everyone: how much physical activity do adults need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html. Updated December 1, 2011. Accessed August 16, 2012.
Triglycerides. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Triglycerides%5FUCM%5F306029%5FArticle.jsp. Accessed August 16, 2012.
What you can do to lower your triglycerides. University of Massachusetts website. Available at: http://www.umassmed.edu/uploadedfiles/LoweringTriglycerides.pdf. Accessed August 16, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 08/2012
- Update Date: 08/16/2012