High triglyceride levels

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Submitted by Dr T on May 26, 2013 – 12:25pm

I am healthy male of 35 years, but I have a question – and I am clueless about the reason for it. 2 months back, my lipid profile was:TC-156; HDL-29; LDL-82; VLDL-45; Triglycerides-220. With low HDL and high Triglycerides – I started a lifestyle changes. In diet I included: Flaxseed powder, walnut, almond, omega3 capsules. Also, extensive workouts – 1.5 hours on average per day, including running, abdominal exercises. No smoking, very less alcohol. This week I did lipid profile again, the results are:TC-173; HDL-31; LDL-66; VLDL-75; Triglycerides-370Though good signs for HDL and LDL, but I am quite clueless for Triglycerides. Can you help me why this has happened?Thanks in advanceregardsAritra
Hi Aritra,

Triglycerides are a form of fat found in the body, blood and in food. Our bodies use them for energy, so they are necessary for good health, but when triglycerides are high it increases the risk for Cardiovascular disease and may indicate that you suffer from metabolic syndrome which raises the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

When the calories we eat are not used, the body converts them to triglycerides and stores them in fat cells where hormones regulate and release them. This supplies energy needed between meals. When we eat more calories than we need regularly this can lead to elevated triglycerides.

Your high triglyceride levels puts you at risk for Cardiovascular disease in the next 25 years, so you have a long time to do something about it (unless you have a family history of severe heart disease at an early age). You should calculate your risk for Cardiovascular disease here.
A majority of people with elevated triglyceride levels have metabolic syndrome, which means they have several risk factors for CAD, often including low levels of HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), increased levels of LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
You have already started with some lifestyle modifications, including diet (avoiding saturated and trans fats, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoiding alcohol), weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation, but I don’t know about whether you need additional control of blood sugar, and high blood pressure control. 
For triglyceride levels in the high range, the same heart healthy lifestyle modifications are recommended, along with reduction in LDL cholesterol levels.
For triglyceride levels in the very high range, the primary goal is to prevent pancreatitis by reducing triglyceride levels to below 500 mg/dL (usually with a fibrate drug or niacin), then secondarily to aim for LDL cholesterol reduction according to the latest recommendations for treating LDL cholesterol. Another drug to consider is Questran.
Apart from diet & exercise you have a lot of work to do to reduce your cardiovascular risk and that includes a much longer period than two months and you may need to discuss with your doctor whether it is time to add medications to your new heart healthy lifestyle
Hope this helps,
*) Image and some information obtained from: Foods to Avoid for High Triglycerides

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