Triglycerides are the least understood of the blood lipid components. Most people know about HDL good cholesterol and LDL bad cholesterol. Triglycerides are the third component in the lipid trio that doctors routinely test for.
While triglycerides are not cholesterol, both of them belong in the same lipid family. Cholesterol is a waxy substance used to build cells. Triglycerides are packets of energy. To learn more about triglycerides and how they work with your blood system, follow the links at the bottom of this article.
In general, triglycerides are how fat is stored within your fat cells. They are a normal source of energy for your body. The problem occurs when they gather in the blood, rather than being used or stored.
Since triglycerides are not actually cholesterol, your triglyceride value is not directly related to your Total Cholesterol in a 1:1 relationship, as HDL and LDL are. The formula for calculating your total cholesterol is:
total = HDL + LDL + (triglycerides/5)
Because of that, the numbers for triglycerides tends to be much higher than for HDL or LDL levels. Here are the recommended levels:
<150 mg/dL - normal
150-199 mg/dL - normal-high
200-499 mg/dL - high
500+ mg/dL - very high
People with high triglycerides tend to have a much higher rate of heart disease and heart attack. Studies find it hard to separate out people who have high triglycerides and low LDL, so it could be that the two simply go together. Usually the things that lower LDL levels also lower triglyceride levels. So this would include:
* losing weight / becoming less obese
* moderate exercise
* stopping smoking
* reducing / stopping drinking
* eating more omega-3 oils
* eating more soluble fiber
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Total Cholesterol Information
HDL Cholesterol Information
LDL Cholesterol Information
Triglyceride Cholesterol Information
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