What is the diagnosis of high Triglycerides?

By  , Expert Content
Jan 18, 2013

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Lifestyle modifications such as exercising and eating a healthy diet are the first line of action for your high cholesterol. But, if you've made these significant lifestyle changes and your total cholesterol — and particularly your LDL cholesterol — remains high, your doctor may recommend medication.

The specific choice of medication or combination of medicines depends on various factors, including your individual risk factors, your age, your current health and possible side effects.

Know Your Cholesterol Levels

The blood lipid profile, or 12-hour fasting lipids panel, is often done to evaluate blood lipid levels in adults. This is done to evaluate your risk of heart disease.

 The standard ("complete") fasting blood lipid profile measures:

    * total cholesterol
    * HDL-cholesterol (often called "good" cholesterol)
    * LDL-cholesterol (often called "bad" cholesterol)
    * triglycerides, and, if needed
    * calculated HDL/cholesterol ratio, and/or
    * a risk score based on lipid profile results, age, sex, and other risk factors.

In most people, triglycerides are measured as a part of total serum cholesterol or the LDL-"bad" cholesterol levels. The LDL cholesterol levels determine if you need to be treated for high total cholesterol.

Your blood level of bad cholesterol equals total cholesterol minus HDL-"good" cholesterol minus one-fifth of triglyceride levelaccording to the Friedewald equation. All the lipid concentrations for this calculation are expressed as mg/dL. But this equation is not applicable if your blood triglycerides are very high (over 400 mg/dL, or 4.5 mmol/L).

In most people the risk of heart disease calculated based on cholesterol levels –and not triglycerides levels generally. Hence the triglycerides levels are tested:

    * As a part of regular routine medical exam
    * If your triglycerides are high and you are being treated for it (to confirm if treatment is working).
    * If you are a diabetic---asdiabetes can cause significant increase in triglycerides---especially with poorly controlled blood sugar.

Healthy people over 40 usually should be tested at least once a year for blood triglyceride levels. People with elevated triglycerides should have it rechecked every three (3) months until the desirable level is reached.

Diagnosing High Cholesterol

Blood test for triglycerides is done after an overnight fasting. Overnight fasting before assessing blood triglycerides levels is important as, triglyceride concentrations change significantly with food intake unlikeHDL-"good" and LDL-"bad" cholesterol. The degree of the increase in blood triglycerides levels depends on the baseline level.

 Some prerequisites before blood test for determining triglyceride levels are:

    * Overnight fasting is essential (for about for 12 to 14 hours). In this period only water intake (no coffee, tea) is permitted.
    * Do not consume alcohol for the 24 hours just before the test.
    * Do not take any kind of vitamin supplements 24 hours prior to your fasting blood sampling. If you are taking drugs such as antihistamines, antibiotics or cortisone treatment consult the lab or your doctor for advice on how to proceed.

According to American Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel fasting blood triglyceride levels in adults can be categorized as follows:

    * less than 150 mg/dL (<1.7 mmol/L)     --...

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