Heart & Circulatory Health Data Verified

Triglycerides - Causes, Medications, Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Treatment

Published on Apr 18, 2020 and last reviewed on Aug 23, 2022   -  5 min read


Triglycerides are derivatives of glycerol and fatty acids. They might sound simple but the causes and symptoms contributed by them are huge. To know more about triglycerides, read this article.

Triglycerides - Causes, Medications, Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Treatment

What Are Triglycerides?

Triglycerides are the basic constituents of body fat. They are found in the blood. Any type of calorie which is not needed at present is converted into triglycerides. Triglycerides are stored as fat cells. They play an important role in controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Triglycerides should be maintained at optimum levels. Any abnormality in these ranges paves the way for a wide range of diseases.

What Is the Normal Triglyceride Level?

The normal level of triglyceride is less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

  • Normal level: Less than 150 mg/dL.

  • Borderline level: 150 to 199 mg/dL.

  • High levels: 200 to 499 mg/dL.

  • Very high levels: 500 mg/dL or more.

Higher levels are associated with heart diseases.

What Are the Causes of High Triglycerides?

  • Genetics.

  • Age and gender.

  • Unhealthy foods, especially foods rich in fat.

  • Physical inactivity.

  • Diabetes.

What Are the Medications That Increase Triglycerides?

What Are the Symptoms of High Triglycerides?

  • Fatigue.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Chest pain.

What Are the Risk Factors?

  • Spleen enlargements

  • Fatty liver.

  • Pancreatitis.

  • Type-2 diabetes.

  • Hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormone).

  • Stroke.

  • Obesity.

What Are the Good and Bad Cholesterols?

LDL is Low-density lipoprotein and HDL is High-density lipoprotein. High-density lipoprotein is known as good cholesterol and the low-density lipoprotein is known as bad cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein prevents too much cholesterol depositing in the blood vessel. The normal range of low-density lipoprotein is 70-130 mg/dL and the normal range of high-density lipoprotein is 40-60 mg/dL. It is always better to maintain the low-density lipoproteins in the lower range and high-density lipoprotein in the higher range.

What Is VLDL?

VLDL is Very-low density lipoprotein. It contains huge amounts of triglycerides. It tends to deposit cholesterol on the walls of arteries and hence it is considered as “bad cholesterol”. The normal level of very-low-density lipoprotein is 2-30 mg/dL.

What Are the Differences Between Cholesterol and Triglycerides?

Both cholesterol and triglycerides are variants of lipids that circulate in the blood. The carbohydrates are converted to calories. The calories which are not used, are stored as triglycerides. They provide the energy needed for the body. We all know that a high level of bad cholesterol is not an indication of good health. Also, a high triglyceride level is harmful too.

How to Reduce Your Triglycerides Level?

  • Exercise regularly. Reduce your body weight. Whenever you eat more calories than you need, your body turns those calories into triglycerides and stores them in fat cells. It is wise to reduce these additional fats.

  • It is good to follow a low carbohydrate diet.

  • Eat more fiber as it makes your bowel movements normal and lowers your risk of cholesterol.

  • Avoid trans fats.

  • Limit your sugar intake.

  • Follow a Mediterranean diet as it does a fair work in reducing triglycerides.

What Are the Exercises to Reduce the Triglyceride Level?

The exercise regimen should always start with warm-up exercises. Exercising consistently is an important factor to be followed for positive results. But, it is necessary to take breaks between the regimen. So, working out on the alternate days will be helpful. Your muscles will feel relaxed without fatigue. Cardio exercises will help you to sweat a lot. When you sweat, it is possible you are losing more weight. Some of the exercises you can try out are:

  1. Jump squats.

  2. Crab plank.

  3. Burpees.

  4. Mountain climbers.

  5. Running up the stairs.

Exercise+Diet= Better results

What Are the Foods to Be Taken to Reduce Triglyceride?

Fishes such as salmon, sardine, flax, oats, bean, almond milk, orange juice, nuts, avocado toast, apple bran muffins will help. Avoid eating chocolates, candies, and drinking coffee.

How to Get the Diagnosis?

Lipid profile test. This includes the detection of many types of lipids residing in blood. It is the source of energy for the body. This test has to be done once in five years to check the general health status.

What Is a Triglyceride Test?

Before the test, a fasting period of around 10-14 hours is required. The patient should drink only water during the fasting period. Alcohol should be avoided 24 hours prior to the test. The test needs your blood sample. It will be analyzed in the laboratory. A lab technician will receive a blood sample by drawing blood from a vein in your hand. There are certain procedures to be followed to get the blood sample:

  1. The site of injection is cleaned with an antiseptic solution. An elastic band is wrapped around the arms for allowing the blood to fill the vessels.

  2. A needle is inserted into your vein and the blood in a tube that is attached to the needle.

  3. After the tube is filled with blood, the elastic band is removed. A small piece of cotton may be used to arrest excessive gauze bleeding.

After the test is complete, the laboratory might require a few hours to calculate the results. The level of triglyceride may be identified in the results.

What Is the Treatment for High Levels of Triglycerides?

  • Stop drinking alcohol as it might increase the triglyceride. Consumption of small quantities of alcohol can increase the level of triglycerides by 50%.

  • Fasting one meal in a week.

  • Do regular exercise.

  • Eat healthy foods.

  • Modifying lifestyle is the best option of attaining a healthy formula of “low bad cholesterol, high good cholesterol, and low triglyceride.”

Are You Having Too Low Triglycerides?

Having too low levels of cholesterol can be both advantageous and harmful. The causes for very low triglycerides level is consuming too low-fat products, certain fat lowering drugs, and hyperthyroidism.

Positive Side: Increases the lifespan of the individual and it also increases the cognitive skills and function. People who have low triglycerides are known to have no dementia even in their elderly age.

Negative Side: Malnutrition, malabsorption, and severe weight loss.

What Are the Medications That Increase the Triglycerides Level?

You might be on regular medications for maintaining blood pressure. But they might be increasing your level of triglycerides.

Some of the notable medications are:

  • Atenolol.

  • Propranolol.

  • Metoprolol.

The triglycerides level being high might be the reason for many health issues. Suffering from obesity or any related illness, call a doctor online.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Do Increased Triglycerides Indicate?

Raised level of triglycerides in the blood is an indicator of obesity, and metabolic conditions like hypertension, increased cholesterol, hypothyroidism, and abnormal blood sugar, which eventually increases the risk of heart diseases and stroke.


How Can I Promptly Reduce Triglycerides?

- Maintain ideal body weight.
- Follow a consistent meal pattern.
- Reduce the intake of sugar.
- Do regular exercises.
- Take a fiber-rich diet.
- Intake of fewer carbohydrates.
- Increase the intake of unsaturated fats.
- Limit trans-fat consumption.
- Eat fatty fish at least twice weekly.
- Take soy protein.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Consume more nuts.


What Is the Alarming Level of Triglycerides?

Triglyceride values ranging above 500 mg/dL indicate a very high level, which means an increased risk of developing pancreatitis, heart diseases, and stroke. However, any level above 150 mg/dL is considered an increased level of triglyceride.


What Is the Leading Cause Of Raised Triglycerides?

Leading cause of increased triglycerides is obesity and uncontrolled diabetes. In addition, overweight, sedentary lifestyle, increased alcohol intake, and increased consumption of sugar lead to a raised level of triglycerides.


How Can We Reduce the Level of Triglycerides?

Consuming cold water fishes rich in omega-3 fatty acids like sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon, herring, and halibut help reduce triglyceride levels. In addition, fiber-rich foods like oats, chia, psyllium, bran, and flax also help reduce triglycerides in the blood. Olive oil replaced for fatty foods like butter also play a role in reducing the level of triglycerides in the blood.


What Foods Are to Be Avoided at High Triglycerides Levels?

- Vegetables rich in starch.
- Beans with white meat like pork.
- Dried fruits. Also, limit the consumption of fruits.
- Coconut.
- Alcohol.
- Canned fish packed in oil.
- Honey.
- Starch-rich foods.
- Maple syrup.
- Foods with high sugar content.
- Meats rich in fat.
- Baked food substances.
- Butter.


Are High Triglycerides Curable?

Although raised triglycerides impose an increased risk of life-threatening conditions, it is highly treatable. Treatment options that have increased potential like administering statins, vitamin B3, fibrates, and omega-3 fatty acids help in treating the disease to a greater extent.


Can Triglycerides Fluctuate Every Day?

Triglycerides show diurnal variation; that is, they exhibit considerable fluctuations even in a single day. Their level is the lowest at about 3 AM, which then rises till mid-afternoon, after that it presents a gradual fall.


Are Raised Triglycerides Worse Than Increased Cholesterol Levels?

Triglycerides are a type of fat that helps in storing the extra calories and provides the body with energy when needed. However, an increased level of triglycerides poses an increased risk for heart diseases like raised cholesterol values.


Does the Level of Triglycerides Increase Cholesterol Level?

Increased triglyceride level is associated with raised low-density lipoproteins (LDL)
cholesterol levels and reduced high-density lipoproteins (HDL). High triglyceride levels
along with reduced HDL level is believed to pose an increased risk of heart diseases and stroke.


What Is the Effect of Triglycerides on Alcohol?

Alcohol consumed breaks down into triglycerides and cholesterol, thereby increasing the level of triglycerides in the blood. It also contains high sugar content and calories, increases the free fatty acid flow into the liver, and also hampers the body's capacity to break down fat.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
23 Aug 2022  -  5 min read




Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

My cholesterol level is low but triglyceride is high. Is 10 mg statin sufficient?

Query: Hello doctor, I am a 76-year-old male. I have the following conditions. 1. IHD for many years (T wave inversion). Recently undergone TMT and 2D echo. Both are negative. 2. Mild BP is normal and under control. 3. Thyroid under control. 4. Diabetes for five years and under control. 5. Prostatom...  Read Full »

What medication do I need to take for my high triglyceride levels?

Query: Hello doctor, I am 34 years old. My lipid profile shows: Total cholesterol 154 mg/dL HDL 26.8 mg/dL LDL 67.9 mg/dL Triglyceride 298 mg/dL FBS is 95mg/dL and RBS 132 mg/dL. Blood pressure 146/82 mmHg. Can I use the cholesterol medicine for triglycerides?  Read Full »

I developed pancreatitis. Do i have chronic pancreatitis ?

Query: Hello Doctor, I developed pancreatic disease. I have been worsening the condition by taking the triggers (heavy food and alcohol). Last April and July I could manage with a strict diet to bring the inflammation and enzyme levels down. I am maintaining a low fat diet and I have reduced the amount ...  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Obesity or Pancreatitis?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.