Try to Keep an Eye on Your Triglycerides
Through our doctors, news and advertisements, we are continuously reminded to pay attention to our cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in the bloodstream and fat tissue. The majority of the fats we take in, like butter, margarines and oils, are in triglyceride form.
Elevated triglycerides cause hardening and narrowing of your arteries. This can lead to you having a heart attack or stroke. Diseases such as diabetes, obesity, kidney failure or alcoholism can cause high triglycerides. Often, high triglycerides occur along with high levels of cholesterol.
Triglycerides vs Cholesterol
Triglycerides and cholesterol are both fatty compounds called lipids. Whereas triglycerides are fats, cholesterol is not. Cholesterol is a waxy, odorless substance made by the liver that is an important component of cell walls and nerves.
Cholesterol also plays an essential role in body functions like digestion and hormone production. Besides being produced by the body, cholesterol comes from animal-based foods that we eat.
Both of these lipids are essential for life itself. Triglycerides store unused calories and provide your body with energy, and cholesterol is used to build and maintain key parts of your cells and some hormones. Because triglycerides and cholesterol can't dissolve in blood, they circulate throughout your bloodstream with the help of proteins that transport the lipids, called lipoproteins.
When your blood levels of cholesterol or triglycerides are elevated, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease is significantly higher. This is why you need to be concerned about your lipid levels.
High-density lipoproteins, or HDLs, sometimes called good cholesterol, work as waste removal carriers. They transport the cholesterol from your bloodstream to your liver so your system can eliminate it. About a third to a quarter of cholesterol in your blood is carried by HDL. Because of this, higher levels of HDL cholesterol are desirable.
Low-density lipoproteins, or LDLs, sometimes called bad cholesterol, keep cholesterol in your blood circulating through your bloodstream, which can leave plaque on artery walls. Over time, this accumulation of plaque can increase risk of atherosclerosis. Therefore, lower LDL cholesterol levels are desirable.
High blood triglycerides generally indicate lower HDL levels, along with a higher risk of heart attack or stroke. Also, underlying diseases or genetic disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity & insulin resistance can keep high triglycerides levels elevated. The best therapy is a lifestyle change.
Triglycerides are a form of fat found within foods as well as within the body. When you eat more calories than are needed for metabolism, they are then retrieved from fat cells and released into the bloodstream to be used as a quick energy source when the body needs it.
Hormones within the body regulate the release process. They also transport dietary fat for storage and conversion into an energy source. Triglyceride provides twice as much energy to the body as either carbohydrates or proteins.
Elevated triglyceride can also cause metabolic syndrome, which is also a risk for heart disease as well as diabetes and other medical conditions. There is a proven link between your cholesterol and triglyceride level, as often those that have a total high cholesterol count are also found to have a high triglyceride level as well. Also, those with high HDL cholesterol levels tend to have a lower triglyceride level, while those with less HDL cholesterol tend to have a higher level of triglyceride.
If your total cholesterol count is high, your doctor will most likely perform additional tests to determine your cholesterol ratio of good cholesterol versus bad cholesterol and a triglyceride test to detect an elevated triglyceride level.
It is just as important to keep a normal triglyceride level as it is keep your LDL and HDL cholesterol ratio in check and to lower your bad cholesterol. A normal or low triglyceride level is less than 150 mg/dL. A triglyceride count of 150-199 is considered borderline to high, while 200-499 means you have high triglyceride. If your triglyceride test shows numbers of 500 or more, you are at extremely high risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke and other serious medical problems, especially if you also have high cholesterol.
Lowering triglyceride to safe levels is important for remaining healthy and preventing the health conditions associated with high triglyceride. It is important to adopt a healthy living lifestyle that includes a well-balanced, low-fat diet. Eating a diet low in carbohydrates will also help reduce triglyceride. Avoid cigarette smoking, excess use of alcohol and get the proper amount of exercise, as this will also help you achieve a normal triglyceride level.
Your optimal LDL level depends on your other heart disease risk factors. Optimal levels for one person don't necessary mean optimal level for a different person. It's necessary to consult your doctor to determine the optimal LDL level for you.
Lowering Triglycerides through Diet
- Reduce intake of saturated fats and trans fats
- Substitute lower fat dairy or cheese over of regular version
- Trim visible fats from meats
- When cooking, use canola, olive or peanut oils
- Check to be sure that no ingredients in your packaged foods contain partially hydrogenated oils
- Eat more high-fiber foods such as whole grains, oatmeal and fruits
- Cut back on drinks
- Limit alcoholic drinks to maximum one drink per day
- Eat more omega 3 -rich foods such as salmon and walnuts. Your doctor may also suggest you taking fish oil or DHA supplements
- Watch portion size when eating out
There are many options for helping lower your cholesterol. Changing from an unhealthy diet to a healthy diet can reduce a cholesterol level. However, dietary changes alone rarely lower a cholesterol level enough to change a person's risk of cardiovascular disease from a high-risk category to a lower-risk category. However, any extra reduction in cholesterol due to diet will help.
An excellent cholesterol supplement that includes many important natural ingredients is Cholesterol Complete™ (click here to view). It's a powerful all-natural formula that targets both types of cholesterol; LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). LDL is the cholesterol you should be most concerned with, it is the "bad" cholesterol that clogs arteries and raises blood pressure. HDL is the "good" cholesterol that helps remove LDL from the body. You're supporting healthy cholesterol with 100% natural approach!