7 facts about triglycerides you should know for your health

To keep your heart healthy, it’s essential to know what triglycerides are, why they need to be kept below a certain level, and how to achieve this.

You’ve probably heard for years that high cholesterol can be bad for your heart. But there’s a lesser-known player that’s just as important for heart health: triglycerides. Cholesterol and triglycerides are both fats found in the blood, and when their levels are too high, they can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body. Your body gets most of its triglycerides from the foods you eat, but it can also make some. When you eat, your body converts extra calories it doesn’t need into triglycerides, which are stored in fat cells to be used later for energy.

Why are triglycerides important? Here are some facts that can put them into perspective.

1 Your diet has a major impact on your triglyceride levels.

A high-fat diet and excessive alcohol consumption are often the cause of high triglycerides. People with high triglycerides are recommended to drink alcohol only in moderation or, in some cases, not to drink alcohol at all. Alcohol can have a particularly strong effect on triglycerides because it’s high in calories and sugar.

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2 But you can lead a healthy lifestyle and still have high triglycerides.

Just like cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels can be lowered through a healthy lifestyle, including a nutritious diet and regular physical activity. But even that may not be enough to bring you back into a healthy range if you have a genetic predisposition to high triglycerides. The liver may overproduce triglycerides, in which case drug treatment may be indicated.

3 Higher than normal triglyceride levels may increase the risk of heart disease.

High triglycerides can contribute to hardening of the arteries or thickening of the arterial walls. A growing body of evidence confirms that elevated triglyceride levels are associated with risk of cardiovascular disease, independent of “bad” cholesterol levels.

4 Diabetes can impact triglyceride levels.

High triglycerides can be linked to high blood sugar. Elevations in triglycerides and blood sugar are associated with metabolic syndrome, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, is the result of the combination of at least three of the following five conditions: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess fat around the waist, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides.

5 High triglycerides can also be a sign of other health problems.

They can be linked to obesity, low thyroid hormone levels, and liver or kidney problems, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, one of the main causes of liver failure.

6 Certain medications can raise your triglyceride levels.

Certain birth control pills, steroids, HIV medications, and beta-blockers can also raise your triglyceride levels. In some cases, your doctor may switch you to another medication if it affects your triglycerides.

7 High triglycerides can harm more than your heart.

A study published in January 2020 in the European Heart Journal indicates that triglycerides can play a role in all types of pathologies associated with atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, stroke, heart attack, just like cholesterol. The study also states that very high triglyceride levels can damage the pancreas and, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, even cause skin disorders.

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Don’t let these facts discourage you.

The good news is that your doctor can easily check your triglyceride levels with a simple blood test, and lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Since triglycerides are very dependent on diet, a low-fat diet may be enough to normalize triglyceride levels in some people. Changes in eating habits, physical activity and weight loss can lead to quite drastic reductions in triglycerides.

* The information and services available on pressesante.com in no way replace the consultation of competent health professionals. [HighProtein-Foods.com]

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