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11 Things You Should Know About Triglyceride Levels

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Up to four million Americans are estimated to have high triglyceride levels, but what exactly does that mean? Having abnormally high triglyceride levels — an indicator of too much fat in the bloodstream — can increase a person’s risk of heart disease, obesity and stroke. Doctors usually check triglyceride levels while screening patients for high cholesterol levels, but many people who should get their cholesterol levels checked don’t they start having health problems. Anyone who makes poor diet choices or lives a sedentary lifestyle is at risk of elevated triglyceride levels. Read on to learn more about how triglycerides could impact your health.

Getting Older

With ages comes wisdom, but also, unfortunately, an increase in triglycerides. As individuals get older, their triglyceride levels naturally increase. However, this increase will be steady. Making healthy lifestyle choices can greatly slow the rate at which triglyceride levels rise.

Lack of Exercise

Lacking in exercise can send your triglyceride levels through the roof. Obesity can increase triglycerides, as regular physical activity can help people control their weight. It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Exercising regularly can reduce triglyceride levels significantly. For even greater results, make healthy changes to your diet while you ramp up your exercise habits.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure usually accompanies high triglyceride levels. Having high triglyceride levels for a long period of time can harden the arteries and thicken the arterial walls, though it is not exactly known how. These changes to the arteries result in heightened blood pressure.

Being Diabetic

If you are diabetic, your triglycerides aren’t helping you any. Individuals with high triglycerides show that their system for turning food into energy is just not working. When insulin resistance occurs, triglycerides cannot get into cells. As a result, an excess of triglycerides remain in the blood and you can develop diabetes. Insulin resistance can worsen when your body does not get enough exercise and you consume a lot of sugary and starchy foods.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism  causes your thyroid gland to not produce enough hormones and lowers the rate in which your body burns calories, so that triglycerides are more likely to remain in your fat cells. The result is a higher triglyceride level.

Kidney Disease

With Kidney disease, kidneys lose the ability to maintain waste products in the blood. Therefore, it’s common to individuals with kidney disease to retain triglycerides in the blood. Furthermore, it is believed there is a relation between triglyceride levels and the progression of kidney disease though it is not exactly known why.

Drinking Too Much

Drinking alcohol can increase triglyceride levels, especially when you drink too much. It is recommended that individuals drink in moderation. Women should not have more than one drink a day while men should not have more than two drinks a day. Additionally, individuals should watch the sizes of portions. A full glass of whiskey is not one drink.

Smoking

While many are aware of the effects smoking has on the lungs, few realize it causes more deaths from heart disease. Smoking affects the cardiovascular disease significantly. The result of this can impact your triglyceride levels. Though smoking does not elevate triglyceride levels immediately, over time smoking will raise them. And moreover, you will need to quit if you plan to make any progress in lowering them.

Medications

Certain medications can also raise triglyceride levels. For women, certain birth control pills and estrogen therapy can cause triglyceride levels to rise, along with some steroids and diuretics. If this is the case, you can talk to your doctor about alternative medications that will not raise levels.

A Family History

Some people may have high triglyceride levels simply because of genetics. If you have high triglyceride levels, it may be a genetic condition passed on by your family. Check to see if you have a family history of high triglyceride levels.

Lowering Your Triglyceride Levels

Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can help with triglyceride levels immensely. By limiting bad fats and sugars in your diet, you can make sure you are not adding an excess of triglycerides into your body. Regular exercise or physical activity will better ensure that energy is being used rather than stored in the body. Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake will help tremendously in lowering triglyceride levels that are known to elevate them.

Adding omega-3 fatty acids reduce triglyceride levels. Foods such as fish, walnuts, and green vegetables contain these omega-3 fatty acids, and when eaten, they can change triglyceride levels in just a few weeks. Consuming more fiber can also improve levels, since fiber helps regulate the way in which food is absorbed and passed through the body.

Marissa is a talented writer and journalist with a strong background in covering physical and mental health issues. Find Marissa on LinkedIn!

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