A level of 160 mg/dL is considered elevated. Elevated triglycerides can put you at greater risk for heart disease and can also be a sign of type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, metabolic syndrome, and hypothyroidism .
People with elevated triglycerides typically don’t have any symptoms, which is why it’s important to know your levels. Lowering your triglycerides will reduce your risk of developing heart disease and other health issues.
If you already have heart disease, lowering your triglycerides can reduce your odds of serious complications, like a heart attack or stroke.
A variety of factors can affect triglyceride levels including your diet, weight, physical activity level, smoking, and drinking. Some medications and certain diseases also impact triglyceride levels.
Diet: Diets that are high in fat, added sugar, and refined carbohydrates can increase triglyceride levels.
Weight. Having excess fat, particularly around the abdomen, can also increase triglycerides.
Physical Activity: Being active can help lower triglyceride levels.
Medications: Certain medicines can raise your triglyceride level including corticosteroids, beta-blockers, thiazide diuretics, antivirals, and estrogen.
Some medical conditions: Diseases involving the thyroid, liver, or kidney, as well as poorly controlled type 2 diabetes can change triglyceride levels.
Smoking: Smoking is associated with elevated triglycerides.
Excessive alcohol consumption: Heavy drinking has also been shown to increase triglyceride levels.
Making changes to your diet and adopting healthier habits can help lower your triglyceride level. To lower your triglycerides:
Exercise for 30-60 minutes 5x/week.
Lose weight by reducing your calorie intake.
Avoid refined carbs and limit added sugars to <25g/day.
Limit alcohol consumption to <1-2 drinks/day.
Eat healthier fats like those found in nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and salmon.
Avoid trans fats and limit saturated fat to <10% of total calories.
If diet and lifestyle changes do not lower triglyceride levels enough on their own, some medications and supplements may help.
Prescription niacin: Niacin is a B vitamin that, when taken at prescription doses, can lower triglyceride levels and improve HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It works by blocking the enzyme responsible for making cholesterol in the liver.
Fibrates: Help lower high triglyceride levels and may also help raise HDL (good) cholesterol.
Statins: Statins (including atorvastatin, simvastatin, and rosuvastatin) may be prescribed if your LDL and total cholesterol levels are also elevated. Statins reduce cholesterol production in your liver and lower blood cholesterol levels. Statins are only prescribed if diet and lifestyle changes aren’t enough .
Fish oil: The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can help lower your triglycerides. Prescription fish oil contains more active fatty acids than many nonprescription supplements but can interfere with blood clotting, so check with a doctor before taking a high-dose supplement.
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