|All about cholesterol LDL cholesterol effects of LDL cholesterol HDL cholesterol HDL cholesterol benefits raising HDL Cholesterol level testing and measuring cholesterol cholesterol readings monitoring cholesterol causes of high cholesterol high cholesterol risk factors symptoms of high cholesterol triglycerides testing triglycerides therapy to lower cholesterol low cholesterol diet cholesterol recipes cholesterol medications nutritional supplements to reduce cholesterol low cholesterol food
What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are another type of fat that is associated with adverse health consequences. Many patients with high cholesterol also have high triglycerides. It is therefore difficult to see if the triglycerides create their own effect, or if all of the increase in problems with arteriosclerosis are simply due to the fact that high triglycerides go along with the high cholesterol. Cholesterol and triglycerides are two forms of lipid, or fat. Both cholesterol and triglycerides are necessary for
life itself. Cholesterol is necessary, among other things, for building cell membranes and for making several essential hormones. Triglycerides, which are chains of high-energy fatty acids, provide much of the energy needed for cells to function.
Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists in food as well as in the body. They're also present in blood plasma and, in association with cholesterol, form the plasma lipids. Triglycerides in plasma are derived from fats eaten in foods or made in the body from other energy sources like carbohydrates. Calories ingested in a meal and not used immediately by tissues are converted to triglycerides and transported to fat cells to be stored. Hormones regulate the release of triglycerides from fat tissue so they meet the body's needs for energy between meals.
Normal fasting levels are generally less than 200 mg/dl. Medications are rarely indicated for levels under 400 mg/dl. High triglycerides can cause other important health problems. Although it is usually caused by other health problems, pancreatitis is a serious inflammatory condition of the pancreas which can be caused by marked elevations of triglycerides (usually over 1000 mg/dl).
Triglyceride levels are strongly influenced by diet. While cholesterol levels remain pretty constant over a month or so, and aren't terribly effected by meals, triglycerides respond quickly to a meal, particularly one with a lot of fat, sugar, or alcohol. While a non-fasting cholesterol level still gives reasonable information, triglyceride levels need to be determined after not eating for 8-12 hours to be accurate (or at least reproducible). Furthermore, patients with high triglycerides need to be particularly careful about their diets.
While we generally don't worry as much about high triglyceride levels as we do about cholesterol. Patients who have arteriosclerosis with high triglycerides as their only obvious abnormality of fat metabolism may need to be approached differently, however. And, it is important for other causes of high triglycerides need to be looked for. It is not always only due to diet or the patient's genes. It may be associated with other health conditions.
The treatment for high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia) is similar to that for high cholesterol.
More information on cholesterol
What is cholesterol? - Cholesterol is a steroid lipid, found in the cell membranes of all body tissues, and transported in the blood plasma, of all animals.
What is LDL cholesterol? - Low-density lipoprotein (or "bad") cholesterol carries the largest amount of cholesterol in the blood and is responsible for depositing cholesterol in the artery walls. An elevated LDL cholesterol level is associated with a greater risk of heart disease.
Why is LDL cholesterol considered "bad"? - When too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain.
What is HDL cholesterol? - High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is one of several types of fats and is measured as 'Total Cholesterol'. HDL is thought to pick up cholesterol from body tissues and bring it back to the liver for reprocessing or excretion.
Why is HDL cholesterol considered "good"? - Because HDL clears cholesterol out of the system and high levels of it are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, HDL is often called "good" cholesterol.
How to raise HDL Cholesterol (good cholesterol)? - Regular aerobic exercise, loss of excess weight (fat), and cessation of cigarette smoking cigarettes will increase HDL cholesterol levels.
How cholesterol is measured and tested? - Cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, usually shortened to "mmol/litre" or "mmol/l".
What're the cholesterol readings? - Cholesterol readings you receive from your medical provider generally include total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and high density lipoproteins cholesterol levels.
How often should my cholesterol be checked? - According to a new set of national guidelines governing cholesterol measurement and treatment, it is recommended that the level be treated every 5 years.
What causes high cholesterol? - High cholesterol is caused by eating a diet that is high in saturated fats and cholesterol. Some people, however, have an inherited disorder in which the body cannot properly metabolize cholesterol.
What are the high cholesterol risk factors? - A diet high in certain types of fats is one factor. Medical problems such as poorly controlled diabetes, an underactive thyroid gland, an overactive pituitary gland, liver disease or kidney failure also may cause high cholesterol levels.
What're the symptoms of high cholesterol? - People with severely elevated cholesterol may have fat deposits in tendons and skin, liver and spleen enlargement, and abdominal pain if pancreatitis develops.
What are triglycerides? - Triglycerides are another type of fat that is associated with adverse health consequences. Many patients with high cholesterol also have high triglycerides.
How to test triglycerides? - For triglycerides testing, blood is drawn from a vein in the arm. A vein at the inside of the elbow or on the back of the hand is usually selected.
How can LDL cholesterol levels be lowered? - Lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol involves losing excess weight, exercising regularly, and following a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
How to reduce cholesterol with dietary therapy? - A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet is desired to keep your total fat consumption--saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated--to fewer than 30 percent of your daily intake of calories.
What about when I go out to eat? - Avoid fried foods. Entrees covered with sauces, as well as creamy dressing, thick soups and casseroles should be avoided because they are usually rich in fat. Look for items labeled "heart-healthy" on the menu.
What cholesterol medications are available to lower cholesterol? - Cholesterol-reducing drugs include cholestyramine (Questran), colestipol (Colestid), gemfibrozil (Lopid), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol) and simvastatin (Zocor).
What nutritional supplements are available to reduce cholesterol? - Artichoke is particularly helpful in relieving gastrointestinal problems that result from an inability to adequately process fats. Garlic assists the heart for centuries and has been used in herbal medicines for all manner of conditions.
What cholesterol lowering food are there? - Eating more fiber-rich foods may help to lower your blood cholesterol level. Soy products are also linked to reduced cholesterol because of their isoflavone content.