Normal triglyceride levels: what they mean


Triglycerides are fats found in the blood. It is important to monitor these fats regularly with blood tests. Too high levels of triglycerides can lead to health problems, so keep your triglycerides in the normal range.

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What are triglycerides?

Triglycerides are considered the most abundant type of fat in the body. Although they come primarily from food, your body can also make triglycerides. Your body needs some triglycerides to function properly, but high levels can cause problems.

When you eat too much food, your body converts the excess calories into triglycerides and stores them in fat cells. Your body will do this if it doesn't need to consume calories right away.

The next time you need more energy, your body's hormones can release triglycerides into your bloodstream. Calories from fat and carbohydrates are more likely to be converted to triglycerides.

Normal triglyceride levels

Normal triglyceride levels can vary based on your age, gender, and other factors. Your healthcare provider can measure triglycerides during a blood test called a lipid bar . The test does not measure triglycerides on its own. Instead, the test is a complete cholesterol bar that includes:

  • Triglycerides
  • Total cholesterol
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol
  • Non-HDL cholesterol

It is important to get lipid panels on a regular basis. A blood test measures levels in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg / dL). You will see this measurement in the report.

Triglyceride Level Recommendations for Adults:

  • Normal level: less than 150 mg / dL
  • High limit: 150-199 mg / dL.
  • High level: 200-499 mg / dL
  • Very high level: 500 mg / dL and above

How do triglyceride levels compare to cholesterol levels?

If you have high triglycerides, you most likely also have high total cholesterol and high bad cholesterol (LDL). Many people with high triglyceride levels also have low levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

Both triglycerides and cholesterol are measured in mg / dL. However, the rules differ for each of them.

High-level risks

When your triglyceride levels are too high, you have a higher risk of heart disease. High triglyceride levels can cause fatty deposits (plaques) to build up in the arteries. Plaque buildup increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke .

High triglyceride levels are considered one of the hallmarks of metabolic syndrome. Other signs of the syndrome:

Metabolic syndrome can cause diabetes , heart disease, and stroke .

Very high triglyceride levels can also affect your pancreas and cause acute inflammation (pancreatitis). This can damage the tissues of the pancreas.

You are at higher risk for high triglyceride levels if you have:

What does low triglyceride levels indicate and could it be too low?

In general, low triglyceride levels are not considered a problem. If your triglyceride levels are below 150 mg / dL, you have a lower risk of heart disease, such as a heart attack or stroke.

However, if your triglyceride level is very low and is less than 40 mg / dL, you may have a medical condition or a medical condition, such as liver problems or inflammation. The risk of dying from heart failure is also higher if triglyceride levels are too low.

Other causes of very low triglyceride levels include:

  • Very low fat diets
  • Fasting for a long period of time
  • Malnutrition, which means that your body is not getting enough nutrients.
  • Malabsorption, which means that your body cannot absorb nutrients.
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland)
  • Taking cholesterol-lowering medications, such as statins.

Ways to lower triglyceride levels

Your healthcare professional will recommend lowering your triglyceride levels if they are too high. You may need to make lifestyle changes or take medicine. The changes will depend on your triglyceride levels and the presence of other medical conditions.

Changes in lifestyle

You may need to make lifestyle changes to lower your triglyceride levels. Ask your doctor for recommendations and seek support from family and friends.

Lifestyle changes for borderline triglyceride levels may include:

  • More exercise
  • Slim down
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Give up smoking
  • Limit sugar and processed foods
  • Eat healthier fats

Lifestyle changes with high and very high triglycerides can include:

  • Eat a very low-fat diet.
  • Weightloss
  • Taking medication


There are medications that can cause high triglyceride levels and others that can lower them. Your healthcare professional can recommend lifestyle changes before prescribing medications. Be sure to speak with your doctor before making any changes or stopping your medication.

Medications that can raise triglyceride levels include:

  • Medications for blood pressure
  • Steroids
  • Diuretics
  • Treatment of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
  • Estrogen
  • Birth control pills
  • Beta blockers

Medications that lower triglyceride levels include:

  • Statins
  • Niacin recipe
  • Fibrates
  • Prescription fish oil

Many triglyceride-lowering medications also lower bad cholesterol levels. Usually your healthcare provider will recommend them if you also have high high cholesterol and low good cholesterol.

Frequently asked questions

What conditions are associated with high triglyceride levels?

High triglyceride levels can be associated with:

Get the word of drug information

Controlling your triglyceride levels is an important part of managing your overall health. Since triglycerides are part of the lipid test, you will also see other values recorded, such as total cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about a lipid test and, if necessary, discuss ways to improve your performance.

You shouldn't panic if you see high triglyceride levels on your lipid test. While you may be at higher risk for certain diseases, you can take steps to lower your risk. It may take time to see lower results and numbers, but don't be discouraged. Consider joining a support group or asking friends and family for help.

Lifestyle changes are an important part of lowering triglyceride levels. Your diet has a big impact on these numbers. You may want to speak with a dietitian if you have trouble eating well or follow your doctor's advice. They can make additional suggestions to help you.

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