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Triglycerides Levels

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 18, 2013
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)
Quick Bites

  • Triglycerides are the main form of fat in the body.
  • Triglycerides are measured using a common test called a lipid profile.
  • They are checked after an overnight fast.
  • Normal triglyceride levels range less than 150 mg/dL.

More

The triglyceride level is a lab test to measure the amount of triglycerides in your blood. Triglycerides are a type of fat.

Your body makes some triglycerides. Triglycerides also come from the food you eat. Extra calories are turned into triglycerides and stored in fat cells for later use. If you eat more calories than your body needs, your triglyceride level may be high.

A test for high blood cholesterol levels is a related measurement.

How the Test is Performed

A blood sample is needed. Most of the time blood is drawn from a vein located on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.

How to Prepare for the Test

  • You should not eat for 8 to 12 hours before the test.
  • Alcohol and some medicines can interfere with blood test results.
  • Make sure your doctor knows what medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.
  • Your health care provider will tell you if you need to stop taking any medicines before you have this test.
  • Do not stop or change your medications without talking to your doctor first.

 

How the Test will Feel

You may feel slight pain or a sting when the needle is inserted. You may also feel some throbbing at the site after the blood is drawn.

Why the Test is Performed

The most important use of this test is to help estimate your LDL cholesterol. This test is also done to help assess your risk for heart disease. A high triglyceride level may lead to atherosclerosis. This condition increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. A high triglyceride level may also cause inflammation of your pancreas.

Persons with a high triglyceride level often have other conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, that also increase the risk of getting heart disease.

The triglyceride level is usually included in a lipid panel or coronary risk profile.

Normal Results

  • Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL
  • Borderline High: 150 - 199 mg/dL
  • High: 200 - 499 mg/dL
  • Very High: 500 mg/dL or above


Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.

What Abnormal Results Mean

High triglyceride levels may be due to:

  • Cirrhosis or liver damage
  • Diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Nephrotic syndrome (a kidney disorder)
  • Poorly controlled diabetes

 

Low triglyceride levels may be due to:

  • Low fat dietHyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Malabsorption syndrome (conditions in which the small intestine does not absorb fats well)
  • Malnutrition


Image Source: Getty

 

Read more articles on Understand Triglycerides.

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