Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in our blood, and they serve as a primary energy source for the body. When we consume more calories than our body needs, it converts these excess calories into triglycerides and stores them in fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals.
However, high levels of triglycerides can be a sign of hypertriglyceridemia. In some cases, triglycerides can indicate an underlying medical condition, such as type 2 diabetes or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This article will discuss high triglycerides symptoms, causes, and Treatment.
Types of Triglycerides
There are two main types of triglycerides: very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and chylomicrons. VLDL is produced in the liver and contains the highest amount of triglycerides. Chylomicrons, on the other hand, transport triglycerides from the intestine to various body tissues.
What are normal triglyceride levels?
Normal triglyceride levels for adults are between 100 and 150 mg/dL. The level for children is different from adults. It is usually lower than 90 mg/dL for kids ages 10 to 19.
There are three types of high triglycerides. 150–499 mg/dl is moderate hypertriglyceridemia. 500 mg/dl or more is severe hypertriglyceridemia. 880 mg/dl or more is very severe hypertriglyceridemia. If your triglyceride levels are consistently above 150 mg/dL, you should see your doctor to discuss ways to lower them.
Symptoms of high triglycerides
- Unusual fatigue and lethargy – You may feel exhausted and tired. High triglycerides can make you feel like you have no energy at all.
- High blood sugar – Hypertriglyceridemia can lead to high blood sugar, increasing your risk of diabetes. People with high triglycerides are usually also overweight, have high blood pressure, and have unhealthy diets. All of these can contribute to high blood sugar.
- High cholesterol – If your triglyceride level is high, your cholesterol (another type of fat in the blood) may also be increased.
- Heart disease – Hypertriglyceridemia increases the risk of heart disease. This is particularly true if you are overweight, have high blood pressure, or have diabetes.
- Liver disease – Hypertriglyceridemia may increase the risk of liver disease in people with fatty liver. This condition can cause scarring of the liver and lead to liver failure.
12 Common Causes of High Triglycerides
1. Poor Diet
A diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and saturated fats can elevate triglyceride levels. Consuming excessive amounts of processed foods, sugary beverages, and fatty meats can increase triglycerides in the blood.
Being overweight or obese significantly raises the risk of high triglycerides. Excess body fat, particularly around the abdomen, is closely associated with elevated triglyceride levels.
3. Sedentary Lifestyle
Lack of physical activity can contribute to high triglycerides. Regular exercise helps regulate triglyceride levels by increasing the production of enzymes that break down fats and promoting overall metabolic health.
Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to high triglycerides. Inherited conditions like familial hypertriglyceridemia can cause consistently elevated triglyceride levels, regardless of diet and lifestyle.
People with diabetes often experience high triglyceride levels. Insulin resistance, a common feature of diabetes, can disrupt the regulation of triglycerides in the body.
6. Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high triglycerides. Alcohol is metabolized as fat by the liver, and regular heavy drinking can significantly increase triglyceride levels.
Smoking not only harms the lungs but also negatively affects triglyceride levels. Studies have shown that smoking increases triglyceride levels while simultaneously lowering the levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol.
8. Certain Medications
Some medications, such as beta-blockers, diuretics, and corticosteroids, can contribute to elevated triglyceride levels. If you’re concerned about your triglyceride levels, consult your healthcare provider to evaluate the potential impact of any medications you take.
9. Underlying Health Conditions
Certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, kidney disease, and liver disease, can disrupt normal triglyceride metabolism and lead to high levels.
10. Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hypothyroidism, can cause elevated triglyceride levels. These conditions affect the way the body processes and regulates fats.
Chronic stress can also lead to high triglycerides. Stress hormones can interfere with normal metabolic processes and increase triglyceride production.
12. Uncontrolled Diabetes
Uncontrolled diabetes, characterized by consistently high blood sugar levels, can result in elevated triglycerides. Proper management of diabetes is crucial to maintaining healthy triglyceride levels.
How to Lower Triglycerides with Natural Remedies
1. Adopt a Heart-Healthy Diet
A heart-healthy diet plays a crucial role in managing triglyceride levels. Opt for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Reduce your intake of saturated and trans fats, as they can raise triglyceride levels. Incorporate omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds, as they help lower triglycerides.
2. Regular Physical Activity
Engaging in regular physical activity can significantly impact triglyceride levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
Activities such as brisk walking, swimming, and cycling can effectively lower triglycerides and improve overall cardiovascular health.
3. Manage Stress
Chronic stress can contribute to elevated triglyceride levels. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga to help keep stress in check and promote heart health.
4. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess weight is often associated with high triglyceride levels. By achieving and maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise, you can positively impact your triglyceride levels.
5. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol intake can lead to increased triglyceride levels. If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. For women, this means one drink per day, and for men, up to two drinks per day.
6. Increase Fiber Intake
A diet high in fiber can aid in lowering triglycerides. Incorporate foods like oats, legumes, and fruits into your diet to boost your fiber intake and promote heart health.
7. Avoid Sugary Beverages and Foods
Foods and beverages high in added sugars can cause triglyceride levels to spike. Minimize your consumption of sugary items and opt for healthier alternatives.
8. Consume Green Tea
Green tea contains antioxidants and catechins that may help lower triglyceride levels. Consider adding a cup or two of green tea to your daily routine for its potential health benefits.
9. Essential Supplements
Certain supplements like fish oil, niacin, and garlic extract have been linked to reducing triglycerides. Consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating supplements into your routine.
10. Quit Smoking
Smoking can have detrimental effects on heart health and increase triglyceride levels. Seek support and resources to quit smoking and improve your cardiovascular well-being.
11. Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can contribute to higher triglyceride levels. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night to support heart health.
12. Monitor Medication
If you are on medication for other health conditions, some may affect triglyceride levels. Regularly review your medications with your doctor to ensure they are not negatively impacting your triglycerides.
13. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water can aid in managing triglyceride levels. Opt for water over sugary beverages to support heart health.
14. Mediterranean Diet
Consider adopting a Mediterranean-style diet rich in olive oil, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. This diet has been associated with lower triglyceride levels and improved heart health.
15. Cholesterol-Lowering Foods
Incorporate cholesterol-lowering foods such as oats, barley, and legumes into your meals to help maintain healthy triglyceride levels.
16. Regular Blood Tests
Regularly monitor your triglyceride levels through blood tests. This will allow you to track your progress and make necessary adjustments to your lifestyle.
17. Avoid Trans Fats
Trans fats can increase triglycerides and negatively impact heart health. Check food labels and avoid products containing trans fats.
18. Increase Physical Activity Gradually
If you’re new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase your activity level to avoid injuries and encourage consistency.
19. Limit Processed Foods
Processed foods often contain unhealthy fats and sugars, which can raise triglyceride levels. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.
20. Mindful Eating
Practice mindful eating by paying attention to your hunger cues and stopping when you feel full. Avoid overeating, as excess calories can lead to elevated triglycerides.
21. Herbal Remedies
Certain herbal remedies, such as fenugreek, may help lower triglycerides. Consult with a qualified herbalist or healthcare professional before using any herbal supplements.
22. Regular Cardio Exercise
Engage in cardiovascular exercises like running, cycling, or aerobics to boost heart health and lower triglycerides.
How to lower triglycerides with medical treatment
From omega-3 fatty acids to fibrates, many options can help reduce triglyceride levels.
1.Fibrates to lower triglyceride levels
Fibrates are a standard treatment for lowering triglyceride levels. These drugs work by reducing the number of triglycerides that your liver produces. Fibrates can be used alone or in combination with other treatments for Hypertriglyceridemia.
Although fibrates are generally safe, some people experience severe side effects. These include diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and an increased risk of pancreatitis. Fibrates are usually most effective in people with Hypertriglyceridemia due to genetic factors.
2. Fish oil with omega-3 fatty acids
If you have high triglycerides, you might benefit from omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a “good” fat type that can help lower triglycerides.
There are several different types of omega-3 fatty acids. The most well-studied are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These types of omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish oil supplements.
Several different types of drugs can help lower triglycerides. Fenofibrate is a commonly used drug. It works by preventing your liver from making as many triglycerides.
Nicotinic acid is another type of drug. It increases the number of lipids you break down and excrete. People with diabetes, kidney disease, or a history of gout should avoid this drug.
When to see a doctor?
If you have Hypertriglyceridemia, you should be sure to talk to your doctor about how to lower your levels. Even if your triglyceride levels are in the healthy range, keeping an eye on the numbers is a good idea.
High triglyceride levels can signify other health conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, or hypothyroidism. You should speak with your doctor if you’re having trouble increasing your triglyceride levels. They can help you come up with a plan to reduce your triglycerides.