High Triglycerides: Yet Another Condition Doctors Want to Treat with a Pill!

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Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

High Triglycerides: Yet Another Condition Doctors Want to Treat with a Pill!

You probably know your cholesterol level and even your HDL and LDL cholesterol—but do you know your triglycerides level? If your level of this blood fat is higher than 150 mg/dL, you may be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Very high levels can even lead to pancreatitis, a painful inflammation of the pancreas.

What are triglycerides? Grab a hold of your love handles and you’ve got a handful of triglycerides. Triglycerides are the primary form in which fats are stored in the body. They’re also abundant in food. A whopping 95% of the fats we eat—whether they’re unhealthy saturated fats or vital essential fatty acids—are incorporated into triglycerides.

Fat-laden triglycerides also float around in your bloodstream, carried by water-soluble lipoproteins, which shuttle them throughout the body. The more fat there is in your blood, the thicker it is, which can impair your circulation.

Unfortunately, most doctors treat triglycerides just like they treat everything else—with a pill! My colleague’s husband has an alarming amount of belly fat, but instead of coaching him about lifestyle changes, he left the doctor’s office with a triglyceride-lowering prescription.

The good news is that triglycerides are extremely responsive to lifestyle changes:

  • Avoid foods made with sugar and white flour and instead eat vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains that provide a slower release of glucose and a less dramatic insulin response. 
  • Eat salmon several times a week. Salmon contains omega-3 essential fatty acids which have been shown to lower triglycerides.
  • Supplement with krill oil. Research out of Canada revealed that taking one to three grams of krill oil reduced triglycerides by 11 to 26.5 percent. Plus, it reduced total cholesterol by 13 to 18 percent, and raised protective HDL cholesterol by an impressive 45 to 59.6 percent.
  • Limit your alcohol intake. All types of alcohol, including beer, wine, and hard liquor can elevate your triglycerides.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Even losing just 10 pounds of excess weight can help to lower your triglycerides.

If despite these lifestyle changes your triglycerides are persistently high, you should be checked for cholesterol abnormalities, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, which often accompany high levels of triglycerides.

Now it’s your turn: Have you had your triglyceride levels tested?

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