It was 02:48 pm and I was sitting in front of my Diabetologist who, as expected, was unhappy with my increased HbA1C. But what concerned him a bit more was my very high triglyceride level. He said that triglycerides must be less than 150 mg/ dL and at that time, my reports showed 1202 mg/ dL. He said, “You really need to improve your lifestyle to bring the high HbA1C, triglyceride levels and body weight down to normal otherwise it’ll further affect my health”.
I thought, “I knew that triglycerides are related to cholesterol levels and so it’s related to my heart but what more do I need to know?” My Diabetologist gave me the required medical advice, prescribed me a medicine and referred me to a Dietitian.
Next day, I took out some time from my busy schedule and consulted the Dietitian. She asked me about my everyday routine. I said that I have no fixed schedule because I am busy with my clients and meetings. Sometimes I skip lunch and sometimes I eat outside food. Also, there is no physical activity. She said that my lifestyle is one of the reasons which is causing my body weight, sugars and triglycerides to increase. She advised me on a balanced diet and asked me to start with a morning walk.
It’s been 5 months since then and I have been following my Doctors and Dietitians advice. Now I feel more energetic, confident and happy all the time. My body weight, blood sugar and triglyceride levels have improved a lot. All this made me realize that it’s important for everyone to be aware about his/ her health condition, consult the right Doctor and make sure to follow their advice religiously.
After reading the above story, you might have some questions regarding your health conditions and high triglycerides levels. Don’t worry we have got you covered!
What are Triglycerides?
Triglycerides (TGs) are a type of fat which are either made in our body or are formed in our body mostly from the food that we eat like oil, ghee, butter etc and sometimes from the extra calories we consume. Triglycerides are stored in the fat cells and become the main component of body fat in humans. The hormones release these triglycerides when the body needs energy to work.
High levels of triglycerides in the blood is medically known as Hypertriglyceridemia. Triglycerides levels are usually measured during the blood test i.e when you do a Lipid Profile test.
Risk Factors of High Triglycerides
People who come in the category mentioned below should take extra care of their health so that they can prevent the risk of high triglycerides and other heart diseases.
- Age: With age, the metabolism of our body starts reducing and also the digestion of food slows down. So people above 35 years of age, especially those who are overweight or obesity or not doing any physical activity are at high risk of getting high TGs. But nowadays, young people or adolescents are also at risk who consume more fried and outside foods and whose weight is more than the normal range.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: Physical activity plays a very important role in removal of bad cholesterol and TGs so people who live a sedentary lifestyle with no physical activity are at a high risk.
- High Intake of Outside Food: Outside, packaged, fried and processed foods are rich in bad fat and the quality of oil that is used is mostly refined oil. The oil is generally heated repeatedly at high temperature which our body is not able to digest easily and then this fat starts getting deposited in our body itself and increases our weight and triglyceride levels.
Causes of High Triglycerides
Now that we know what triglycerides are and who are more prone to have it. Let’s discuss- what causes high triglycerides?.
There are multiple reasons for having high TGs levels in the blood. Here are some common causes of high TGs levels that you might already be aware of:
- Poorly Controlled Diabetes- Both, diabetes and high triglycerides are metabolic disorders. When a person has poor control over his blood sugar levels, it eventually impacts the heart and increases triglycerides along with other bad cholesterol levels.
- Overweight and Obesity- Extra body fat is directly linked with extra triglycerides levels as these are stored in fat cells only. Managing body weight, thus is a very important step in improving high TGs levels.
- Eating Habits-
- High Fat Intake: As mentioned above, intake of oily, fried and outside food gets converted to triglycerides and is stored in the fat cells. Regular intake will further result in increased levels of triglycerides.
- High Sugar and Refined Carbohydrate Intake: When we eat extra calories from sugar and refined food than the required amount, it’ll eventually get converted into triglycerides and with time it’s level will increase.
- Lack of Physical Activity- Exercising has multiple benefits and one of them is improving high levels of triglycerides in our blood. Exercising will make us feel good while burning the extra fat cells and improving our metabolism.
- Excessive Alcohol Intake- Alcohol is known for having many negative effects in our body. When we drink alcohol, it is broken down into simpler form and some of it gets converted to triglycerides. It’s long term intake increases blood triglyceride levels, blood pressure and weakens our heart muscles. This can further impact the heart and liver health.
It is important to work on the above mentioned causes to avoid any future health problems like heart attack, stroke, damage to liver or pancreas or blockage of arteries in legs or blood vessels in the brain.
Triglycerides Normal Range and Levels
|Very high||500 and above|
Symptoms of High Triglycerides
Usually no particular symptoms are noticed when blood triglyceride levels are high. Only a few high triglycerides symptoms might appear like the ones mentioned below when levels are very high for a long time:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
- Deposition of fats under the skin
Home Remedies for High Triglyceride Levels
Whenever we are diagnosed with some disease or have a disturbed parameter in a blood test, we always get conscious about how to bring it back to normal as we never want to start with medicines at first or until the medicine becomes very necessary. Like in this case, we might think about “how to lower triglycerides?”, “what would be a high triglycerides diet” etc. So home remedies are the one that helps us in managing our health at an early stage. Few home remedies to reduce high triglyceride levels are:
- Turmeric (Haldi)
- It is a natural blood thinner and helps in reducing triglyceride levels.
- Add 2-3 grams of turmeric in a glass of milk and drink daily.
- Adding a pinch of black pepper along with turmeric helps in better function of turmeric.
- Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Dana)
- Fenugreek seeds help in reducing triglyceride levels by lowering their absorption in the intestine and excreting it out of the body.
- Soak 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds overnight in 1 glass of water. In the morning, drink the water and chew seeds.
- Ginger (Adrak)
- It helps in cutting down triglyceride levels in blood.
- Add 1-2 inch of ginger in your green tea and have it two times a day.
- One can also keep a 1 inch piece of ginger in mouth and suck it.
- Indian Gooseberries (Amla)
- Amla contains a good amount of antioxidants that really helps in lowering the levels of high triglycerides.
- Amla can be taken as 1 fresh piece daily or in a powder form as well. Add a teaspoon of amla powder in a glass of water and drink it daily.
- Amla in the form of murabba might not be a good option to reduce triglyceride levels as the consumption of sugar makes the liver produce more bad cholesterol.
- Chia Seeds
- Chia seeds are full of fiber and healthy omega fatty acids that help greatly in decreasing the triglyceride levels.
- Chia seeds can be consumed in many ways like adding 1 teaspoon in a glass of lemon water or adding on salads/ smoothies/ curd etc.
- To get better results soak chia seeds in water for at least 30 minutes.
Best Treatment for High Triglycerides
At Zyla, we help you with personalised management of High Triglycerides through a unique Triple Combination Therapy (TCT) approach of Medical nutrition therapy, Naturo therapy and Allopathic therapy
- A regional and customised diet to know what all food you can have and what not.
- To understand portion size of particular food and how to divide meals throughout the day.
- What type of oil should be used for cooking.
- How much oil can be used in a day.
- What cooking methods can be used to prevent high triglycerides.
- What physical activity and exercise can reduce the level of high TGs.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Does it Mean When your Triglycerides are High?
High triglycerides means that the level of bad fat is increasing in our body which may affect our heart health.The high levels of triglycerides need to be controlled as soon as possible to prevent risk of any heart disease.
2. How Can I Lower my Triglycerides Quickly?
High triglyceride levels can be reduced with the help of:
- Physical Activity: Including 30 minutes of brisk walk twice daily helps in managing the levels of TGs.
- Fiber Intake: High fiber food helps in binding with TGs and removes them out of the body. One can include oats/ daliya/ millets in breakfast cereals, 2-3 fruits a day, 2 vegetables and 2 times salad in the whole day.
- Choosing Right Oil for Cooking: Replacing refined oils with cold pressed (kachi ghani) oils help in reducing TGs.
- Amount of Oil: Limiting the consumption of oil helps greatly in bringing TG levels to the normal range.
- Avoiding High Fat and Sugar Rich Foods: Fried foods, processed foods, sugary foods and packaged foods all contain high fat or calories which contributes in increasing the level of triglycerides in our body.
- Reducing Weight: It helps in automatically reducing the bad cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels because the extra weight is due to extra fat only which gets deposited in various body parts especially the abdominal area.
3. What Foods Contribute to High Triglycerides?
- Fried and Processed Foods: They contain more bad fat which increases free radicals (elements that damages our body) in our body and also increases triglyceride levels.
- Sugary Foods and Drinks: High intake of sugary foods or drinks increases the calorie intake which is changed to fat by our body and increases TG levels.
- Refined Foods: Refined food contains zero or very low fiber and which again contributes in generating free radical and increases calorie count and in turn increases triglyceride levels.
- Refined Oils: These are processed oils and their intake directly increases weight and triglyceride levels and later the risk of heart disease.
4. What is The Best Treatment for High Triglycerides?
Well the best treatment for high triglyceride depends upon its level. If the level is not very high, it can be managed with lifestyle modifications that include modification in diet and physical activity as we discussed above. But if the level is very high then one might need to start with medicine to prevent risk of heart disease along with lifestyle modifications. And for people who already have heart issues should be under a cardiologist as slightly high levels of TGs can also affect the heart health further.
5. What is The Alarming Level of Triglycerides?
Below 150 mg/ dl is the normal triglyceride level and above 150 is considered as high (as mentioned in the table above). So here again I would say that the alarming level of serum triglycerides depends upon a person’s overall health. Like one who has a history of high TGs or family history of heart issues or already has any heart disease should consult a cardiologist for better opinion on whether the level can be managed with lifestyle or medicine should be started.
Dr Rebecca Shweta Gladwin
MD (Medicine), PG (Diabetology), PG Diploma (Endocrinology)
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