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What causes elevated triglycerides?

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Elevated triglycerides are usually the result of obesity, kidney disease, ingesting more calories than a person burns, excessive alcohol consumption, hypothyroidism and insufficiently controlled diabetes, according to WebMD. Doctors consider triglycerides levels between 150 and 199 to be borderline high, while anything above 200 is high.

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High triglycerides can also be a side effect from some medications. Tamoxifen, beta blockers, steroids, estrogen, birth control pills and diuretics all have the potential to elevate triglyceride levels. There are also genetic factors with high triglycerides in rare cases. In those situations, fatty deposits known as xanthomas often aggregate under the skin. Other than that, elevated triglycerides do not present with any symptoms, notes WebMD.

The body needs some triglycerides to maintain good health. However, elevated levels have the potential to elevate the danger of heart disease and, in some cases, indicate metabolic syndrome. This condition combines high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, excess fat at the waist and low levels of HDL cholesterol. People with this condition have a higher risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Doctors perform one blood test to measure both triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood. People who lose weight, limit sugars and fats in the diet, limit alcohol consumption, and quit smoking are likely to reduce their elevated triglycerides, reports WebMD.

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