Hypertriglyceridemia, also known as elevated triglycerides are a widespread problem, particularly in the United States, with 25% of adults experiencing increased triglycerides levels on a day to day basis. This health issue is more prevalent in men (28.7%) rather than in women (21.5%).
Triglycerides are the primary components of body fat in the human body. When we eat, we consume calories; the body will use up some of these calories and then transform the rest of them into triglycerides. The system will store the newly formed triglycerides in the fat cells to supply the body with the much-needed energy.
Even though triglycerides are a source of energy, when the levels are too elevated, you increase the likelihood of experiencing heart disease, pancreas, and liver issues.
Learning how to recognize the symptoms, figure out the causes, and treatment is very important for anyone looking to keep their triglycerides in check. Here, we will focus on everything you need to know about high triglycerides and how you can manage them.
How To Detect Hypertriglyceridemia or Elevated Triglycerides?
Unfortunately, there are no symptoms or signs that will immediately tell you if your triglycerides are elevated. The only way you can know for sure is by getting a blood test done and determining triglyceride level.
Your triglycerides will fall in the NORMAL range if they are 150mg/dL (1.7mmol/L) or lower. They will be considered HIGH, but not quite dangerous yet if they fall in the 150-199 mg/dL (1.8-2.2 mmol/L) range. When they reach 200-499 mg/dL (2.3-5.6 mmol/L), then they are a sign of concern and are now absolutely HIGH. Anything higher than 500 mg/dL (5.7 mmol/L) is considered VERY HIGH and can have a huge impact on your overall health!
What Causes Hypertriglyceridemia or Elevated Triglycerides?
If you are familiar with the different causes, you will be one step closer to solving the problem. There are multiple reasons a person can experience elevated triglycerides. Some of the causes are as follows:
- Unhealthy Diet
- Certain Medications or Side Effects
- Poorly Managed Health Condition
How Can an Unhealthy Diet Elevate Triglycerides?
What you put in your system will drastically impact your health. Your diet is much more important than you think. For many people, it is the line between normal and unhealthy triglycerides levels.
The more calories you consume, the more you have to burn them. If you don’t, you will supply your body with more calories than it can handle, which in turn will elevate the triglycerides levels.
How Certain Medications Lead To Higher Triglycerides?
Certain medications for blood pressure, HIV medicines, antipsychotics, corticosteroids, estrogen, and isotretinoin can have a direct impact on the triglycerides and make triglycerides high. That’s why monitoring your health is very important, particularly for those who often experience elevated triglycerides.
How Bad Health Conditions Can Result In High Triglycerides?
Numerous health conditions can contribute to elevated triglycerides, many of which are often ignored. Kidney diseases, an underactive thyroid, and diabetes are some of the most prevalent ones.
Metabolic conditions, like diabetes, for example, have a direct impact on blood sugar levels. It reduces the “good” cholesterol and boosts the “bad” one, which in turn affects the triglycerides.
With an under active thyroid, it gets worse; the body can’t remove all that excess cholesterol. Since the hormone levels are so low, it is almost impossible for the system to manage the “bad” cholesterol and break it down efficiently.
If the kidneys are not working properly, it will be even more difficult for the body to function effectively. Therefore, it can affect triglyceride levels and cause numerous other problems. All these issues start to affect the blood and the entire system that often result in heart disease, pancreas, or liver issues.
How To Lower Triglycerides with Medicine?
There are plenty of available medications for stabilizing the levels. Some of the often prescribed ones are:
- Vascepa, Lovaza, and Epanova (medications rich in omega-3s)
- Fibrates (Tricor, Fibricor, and Lopid)
- Niaspan (Nicotinic acid)
Check with your physician to get the medicine you need. They will have to do a blood test first and determine which medication would be better suited for your condition. They will evaluate all the potential health complications that may arise if you have any other medical conditions and whether or not they will interfere with your medications.
How To Lower Triglycerides Naturally?
Some people like to avoid all the chemicals in prescribed medications, so they often choose a more natural alternative. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can lessen your triglycerides without having to rely on conventional medicine. You can achieve it by pure natural means. Here are some natural way to lower your triglycerides.
- Being mindful of what you eat and drink
- Keeping a healthy body weight
The food and the beverages you consume directly impact your triglycerides. The first thing you should try is to limit the intake of fats. The key to making it work is not to completely remove fats from your diet, but to limit the consumption rate to 30-35% of the total number of calories you consume on a daily basis.
Stay away from trans-fats and don’t consume more than 7% saturated fats of the total calorie-daily intake. Replace all the unhealthy foods with a healthier alternative, for example, go for olive or canola oil instead of sunflower oil or any other type of oil.
That way, it will be much easier to limit the amount of cholesterol you consume. The goal is not to consume big meals, but to eat small portions frequently and throughout the day. You shouldn’t skip any meal, since skipping meals can have the opposite effect. Also, be careful with alcohol, too much, and your triglycerides can skyrocket.
Cutting down on the fats, sugar, and other unhealthy food choices can help you shed some pounds, which is also another way to keep your triglycerides within the normal range. Exercises can speed up the process and help with the problem as well.
Final Thoughts On Hypertriglyceridemia Management
Keeping the triglycerides levels at lower range, or in other words managing hypertriglyceridemia does come with its challenges. There are various reasons that can cause it, which makes it an incredibly difficult problem to avoid. But, the good thing is, you can keep the levels in check both naturally and with medicine. As long as you get regular blood tests, it’s easy to maintain triglycerides levels within a normal range or effectively manage hypertriglyceridemia.