Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood.
When you consume extra calories, your body converts them to triglycerides, which are stored in fat cells and later used for energy. Elevated triglycerides (>150 mg/dL) can increase your risk for heart disease and is one of the signs of metabolic syndrome. Your doctor can measure your triglycerides with a fasting lipid panel test.
Triglycerides become elevated a number of ways, including obesity, poorly controlled diabetes, hypothyroidism and excess caloric intake of refined carbohydrates and bad fats. Medications, such as tamoxifen, beta-blockers and diuretics, can elevate triglycerides.
High triglycerides can also be genetic, which is often evidenced by the presence of fatty deposits under the skin. There are a number of lifestyle changes that can lower triglycerides to a normal level, such as shedding excess pounds, exercising 30 minutes a day, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol, sugar and refined carbohydrates. You can also increase your intake of fiber and healthy fats such as monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. Medications should only be considered if you see no improvements from lifestyle changes within three to six months.