Treating High Triglycerides

What are triglycerides?

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. It is the main source of energy and the most common type of fat found in the body.

When you eat, your body uses the calories it needs for fast energy. Any extra calories are converted to triglycerides and deposited in fat cells for further use. Excess calories are stored in the form of fat, regardless of whether you eat foods that are high in fat, carbohydrates or proteins. If you regularly consume more calories than you burn, you may have high triglyceride levels.

In normal amounts, triglycerides are good for health. When their level rises, it is not clear whether this has a direct effect on the increased risk of heart disease. But high triglyceride levels are often part of a disease called metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, large amounts of fat around the waist, low good cholesterol, and high triglycerides. This syndrome increases the risk of heart disease, as well as diabetes and stroke.

Triglycerides are measured using a blood test for cholesterol. The optimum level of triglycerides should be 150. 200 and above is considered a high level.

What causes an increase in triglycerides?

Factors that can cause high triglycerides include:

  • Obesity.
  • Poorly controlled diabetes.
  • Insufficient active thyroid (hypothyroidism).
  • Kidney disease.
  • Regular consumption of more calories than you burn.
  • Excessive alcohol intake.

Certain medications can also increase triglyceride levels. These are drugs such as:

  • Tamoxifen.
  • Steroids.
  • Beta blockers.
  • Diuretics.
  • Estrogen.
  • Birth control pills.

Certain types of high cholesterol and triglycerides are caused by genetic factors.

Symptoms of high triglyceride levels

High triglycerides do not usually cause symptoms.

Sometimes high triglyceride levels are caused by genetic factors. But this rarely happens. In this case, it may be accompanied by visible fat deposits under the skin called xanthomas.

In rare cases, people with very high levels of triglycerides have inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). This can cause sudden, severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and fever.

How to lower triglycerides

If you are overweight, losing weight may be the best way to reduce triglyceride levels. You can also achieve a good result if you use fewer calories and more often play sports. In addition, limiting fat and sugar, as well as alcoholic beverages, can help.

If the exercise program and low-calorie diet do not help, you may need medication. Preparations called statins are often used to lower LDL levels. But nicotinic acid (niacin) and fibrates more effectively reduce triglyceride levels. If you have high triglycerides and LDL and low HDL, you can take several drugs at once.

Treating High Triglycerides

To reduce triglycerides, it is recommended to follow a diet and lead a healthy lifestyle. Such methods are especially effective if you have the maximum permissible values (150-199 mg / dL).

Diet and healthy living should include:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limited fat and sugar intake.
  • Active lifestyle.
  • Limited alcohol intake.

You can also take drugs to lower triglyceride levels. Drugs can be used if you are exposed to risk factors for coronary artery disease. In this case, it is possible that the doctor will first prescribe a treatment for you to lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL levels, and then work on triglycerides.

Control of LDL and HDL levels can reduce the risk of heart attack and death, but the risks of high triglyceride levels are not so well known. For more information about optimal performance and high cholesterol treatment, see the section “High Cholesterol Content”.

Initial treatment

Diet and a healthy lifestyle are the first steps to help you lower triglyceride levels.

Diet and healthy living include:

  • Maintain a healthy weight or limit calorie intake for weight loss.
  • Limited carbohydrate intake and unhealthy fats.
  • Active lifestyle.
  • Limited alcohol intake.
  • To give up smoking.
  • Keeping your blood sugar near optimal if you have diabetes.

Adding fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) to your diet will help reduce triglyceride levels. You can eat fish at least 2 times a week or take supplements. Omega-3 high-fatty fish varieties include salmon, tuna and mackerel.

You can try Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) or the TLC diet. TLC is a combination of a diet and a healthy lifestyle that will help you reduce cholesterol.

To limit the amount of carbohydrates consumed, it will be useful for you to find out how much carbohydrates are contained in various foods.

Alcohol has a particularly strong effect on triglyceride levels. Regular excessive drinking and even one hard drinking can cause a significant increase in triglyceride levels. Excessive consumption of alcohol can cause a jump in the level of triglycerides, which can lead to the development of pancreatitis. Your doctor will ask you to limit or stop drinking alcohol.

Before you begin to exercise, talk with your doctor about their safety. You can also consult a nutritionist for a healthy diet.

Your doctor will check for diseases that can cause triglyceride levels, such as hypothyroidism, poorly controlled diabetes, and kidney disease. Also, an increase in triglycerides can be caused by taking certain drugs. Your doctor may change the dosage or advise you to stop taking this drug.

Current treatment

If your triglyceride levels do not fall, despite the fact that you lead a healthy lifestyle, you may also need to take drugs. The choice of treatment that your doctor prescribes depends not only on your triglyceride level. Your doctor will also take into account your cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease.

If you have high cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease, you may need a combination of drugs for different types of cholesterol. You may be assigned:

  • Statins.
  • Fibrates.
  • Nicotinic acid.

Statins are used to lower LDL. They can also lower triglycerides and even increase HDL levels. Usually, the more the drug reduces the level of LDL, the more it reduces the level of triglycerides. When LDL reaches an optimal level, you can start taking fibrates or nicotinic acid to more effectively lower triglyceride levels. Both of these drugs also increase HDL levels.

If you have very high triglycerides, your doctor may first prescribe triglyceride-lowering drugs to prevent damage to the pancreas.

People who take statins should be wary of fibrates. The combination of these drugs increases the risk of a life-threatening muscle disease called acute skeletal muscle necrosis, which can lead to renal failure. Therefore, before you combine these drugs, you must check the status of the kidneys and liver. If you have muscle pain, consult a doctor immediately.

Treatment of exacerbation of the disease

If you have not taken triglyceride-lowering drugs before, you will probably start. If you are already taking drugs, but they do not give the desired result, the doctor may change the dosage or prescribe a new drug. You can take drugs such as:

  • Statins.
  • Fibrates.
  • A nicotinic acid.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil).

People who take statins should be wary of fibrates. The combination of these drugs increases the risk of a life-threatening muscle disease called acute skeletal muscle necrosis, which can lead to renal failure. Therefore, before you combine these drugs, you must check the status of the kidneys and liver. If you have muscle pain, consult a doctor immediately.

Your doctor may prescribe drugs containing omega-3 fatty acids (for example, Lovaza). Also, omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish varieties such as salmon or tuna. But drugs are highly concentrated form of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce triglyceride levels. They may raise the level of LDL slightly, so the doctor should closely monitor your cholesterol levels if you are taking Lovazu.

You should consider whether you can lead a healthy lifestyle. You may need help in achieving your goals. Consider contacting a registered dietitian to help you develop a healthy diet. Remember the importance of exercise – attend a sports center or hire a personal trainer who will put together an interesting, fun and effective exercise program for you. You can choose walking to increase your physical activity.

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