What Are Triglycerides?


Quick Answer

Triglycerides are a form of fat appearing in the bloodstream, according to Mayo Clinic. The body changes any calories it doesn't need immediately into triglycerides, which go into the fat cells for storage. Later on, hormones set triglycerides loose to provide energy between meals.

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Full Answer

People who generally eat more calories than they burn, particularly such calories as fats and carbohydrates, commonly end up suffering from high triglycerides. The normal level is less than 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood. Counts between 150 and 199 are considered borderline high, while counts between 200 and 499 are considered high. Above 500 is very high. The American Heart Association recommends keeping levels below 100. Doctors generally check for triglycerides when they run cholesterol tests, also known as lipid profiles or lipid panels. Fasting for at least nine hours is necessary for an accurate triglyceride count, notes Mayo Clinic.

For people who need to reduce triglyceride levels, lifestyle alterations such as losing weight, increasing physical activity and starting a diet are the most common recommendations. Triglycerides generally respond quickly to changes in lifestyle and diet. People who fail to lower their high triglyceride levels run the risk of heart disease over the long term, states Mayo Clinic.

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