Triglycerides

What is Triglycerides?

Triglycerides is a type of fat that your body uses to store energy and give energy to the muscles. Triglyceride and the other cholesterol tests are blood tests which measure the total quantity of lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) in the blood.

Cholesterol is bound to a protein as it travels in the blood. This cholesterol-protein package is known as a lipoprotein. Lipoprotein analysis means that we can check your levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

The most common reason for checking triglycerides is as part of a lipid profile to estimate risk of development cardiovascular disease. Triglycerides are a form of lipid (fat), and are therefore included as part of a lipid profile.

Why do we analyse triglycerides?

High triglyceride levels alone are not an important risk factor in cardiovascular disease.

If you have a high triglycerides level combined with a high LDL cholesterol level, there may be an increased risk of heart disease.

If you have significantly higher triglyceride levels, this may also increase the risk of inflammation of the pancreas. This condition can be life-threatening under certain circumstances.

If your levels are higher than the range above, it may be worth doing further sampling to find out the cause of the increase.

High levels of triglycerides

High triglycerides levels above 2.6 may be due to:

  • Your genes: this is called ‘familial hypertriglyceridaemia’
  • Eating too many carbohydrates
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diseases of the kidney, pancreas and liver
  • Pregnancy
  • Taking the contraceptive pill, steroid hormones, diuretics or beta-blockers

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