TriglyceridesThe final results from my health screening revolve around the topic of triglycerides.  Now if you have been following my previous posts, you know I am not the brightest turnip on the truck – or however the saying goes.  When I heard triglycerides, I wondered why on earth they would be tracking how much Gatorade I was drinking.  After several hours, I realized I was thinking of electrolytes.

So what are triglycerides? Please hold, while I summon the smarty pants people at WebMD.

Triglycerides are important to human life and are the main form of fat in the body. When you think of fat developing and being stored in your hips or belly, you’re thinking of triglycerides. Consider these things:

  • The fat we eat exists in relatively huge molecules inside food. Triglycerides are the end product of digesting and breaking down these bulky fats
  • Any extra food we eat that’s not used for activity right away — carbohydrates and fats — are also chemically converted into triglycerides
  • Triglycerides are then bundled together into globules after they are eaten. These are transported through the blood to the liver. After they leave the liver, triglycerides are packaged inside a type of protein (called very low density lipoprotein) and then can be transported in the blood to where they are needed.

What are the levels of triglycerides?  Again, I’ll let them tell you.  I don’t want to reinvent the wheel 🙂

The National Cholesterol Education Program sets guidelines for triglyceride levels:

  • Normal triglycerides means there are less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
  • Borderline high triglycerides = 150 to 199 mg/dL
  • High triglycerides = 200 to 499 mg/dL
  • Very high triglycerides = 500 mg/dL or higher

Why is it bad to have high triglycerides levels? I am not sure why you keep asking me, when WebMD has all the info already:

High triglyceride levels are a risk factor for heart disease. Experts disagree, though, on just how bad of an effect high triglyceride levels — by themselves — have on the heart.

Needless to say, my triglyceride numbers were borderline – surprise, surprise.

What can be done to lower my numbers? Hell if I know.  WebMD?  Any clue?!?

The main way to deal with high triglyceride levels is through improved lifestyle. That means eating a healthier diet and getting more frequent exercise. Here are some guidelines to help you manage your triglyceride level:

  • Moderate physical activity on five or more days each week can help lower triglyceride levels.
  • Weight loss also lowers triglycerides and cholesterol
  • Reducing saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol in your diet can improve triglyceride levels as well as help manage cholesterol
  • Alcohol consumption has strong effects on triglyceride levels. Drinking more than one drink a day for women or two for men can raise triglyceride levels considerably. Some people with high triglycerides may need to cut out alcohol entirely
  • Eat more fish high in omega-3 fatty acids instead of red meat, which is high in saturated fat. Fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids

Again, I hope this information helps someone out there who is wondering what all these crazy results mean.

If your employer offers these free or discounted services, take advantage of them.  They could save your life – or, at the very least, lead to some useful conversations with your doctor.