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What is the Triglyceride Level Test?
The triglyceride level test helps to determine the
amount of triglycerides in your blood.
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. The
test helps determine your risk of developing heart
disease. The test is also referred to as a “triacylglycerol
What Are Triglycerides?
Triglycerides are a type of lipid and are the body’s storage
form for calories that it does not use right away. These
triglycerides circulate in the blood to provide energy for
your muscles to work. After you eat, extra triglycerides can
be found in the blood. If you eat more calories than your
body needs, your triglyceride level may be high.
Triglycerides are carried through your blood by very low-
density lipoproteins (VLDLs). VLDL is a type of
lipoprotein, like low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-
density lipoprotein (HDL). VLDL measurements can be
helpful information when you and your doctor talk about
options for reducing your triglyceride level.
Why Is the Test Ordered?
This test will help you determine your risk of developing
It helps to estimate the level of LDL cholesterol in your
It can also determine if you have inflammation in your
In addition, this test can determine if you are at risk of
developing atherosclerosis, which increases your risk of
having a heart attack or stroke.
When Do You Need to Be Tested?
It is recommended that you should have a lipid profile done
every five years as part of your regular medical exam. The lipid
profile tests your cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglyceride levels.
If you are being treated for a high triglyceride level, this test is
carried out more frequently in order to allow your healthcare
provider to monitor how well the treatment is working.
If you are diabetic, it is important to monitor your triglyceride
level regularly since triglycerides will increase when blood sugar
is not properly maintained.
Screening for children is recommended if they may be at an
increased risk of developing heart disease. This includes children
that have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, high blood
pressure, or are overweight. High-risk children should be tested
first between 2 and 10 years of age. Children under 2 years are too
young to be tested.
What Do the Results Mean?
The following are the basic categories of results for
triglyceride levels in milligrams per deciliter:
normal fasting: 150 mg/dL
borderline high: 150 to 199 mg/dL
high: 200 to 499 mg/dL
very high: >500 mg/dL
Hypertriglyceridemia is the medical term for elevated
triglycerides in the blood.
Fasting levels can vary normally day to day. Triglycerides
vary dramatically when you eat a meal, and can increase
five to 10 times higher than fasting levels.
When fasting triglyceride levels are above 1000 mg/dL,
there is a risk of developing pancreatitis. Immediate
treatment to lower triglycerides should be started as soon
If triglyceride levels are high, your cholesterol may also be
high. This condition is known as hyperlipidemia.
Interpreting Your Results
There are many reasons why your triglyceride level may
be high. Some of them are due to lifestyle habits that
increase triglyceride levels. These include:
being overweight or obese
increased alcohol consumption
eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates
There are also medical conditions that can cause high
triglyceride levels, including:
cirrhosis in the liver
diabetes, especially if it is not well controlled
nephrotic syndrome or kidney disease
Low triglyceride level may be due to:
How Can I Control My Triglyceride Levels?
Studies have shown that carbohydrates play an
important role in controlling triglyceride level. Diets
high in carbohydrates, especially sugar, can increase
Exercise has also been proven to lower triglycerides
and increase HDL cholesterol. Even if you do not lose
weight, exercise can be beneficial to controlling your
The American Heart Association recommends
changes in lifestyle habits to help treat high
triglyceride levels. The changes include:
Reduce the saturated fat, trans fatand cholesterol
content of your diet.
Reduce your intake of alcohol.
Eat fruits, vegetables and nonfat or low-fat dairy
products most often.
Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensityphysical
activity on five or more days each week.