A PATIENT-EDUCATION TOOL FROM THE COMMIT TEE ON C ARDIOVASCULAR AND METABOLIC DISEASES
What You Should Know About… Triglycerides
Triglycerides (TGs) are the most common type of fat in the body. They are also a great source of
SUPPOSE THAT’S NOT ENOUGH.
energy. TGs come from certain foods, and they are also produced naturally in the body by the liver.
When you eat, calories that are not used as energy are converted into TGs and stored as fat.
If I cannot lower my TGs with
Although TGs are important for your body’s healthy functioning, they may be dangerous in high
lifestyle changes, what can my
amounts, increasing your risk for cardiovascular (heart) disease and pancreatitis (inflammation, or
swelling, of the pancreas).
If your TGs are still high after youhave made appropriate lifestylechanges, your doctor may
Who is at risk for high TGs?
Many factors can cause high TGs, including genetics (for example, a family history ofhigh TGs), lifestyle habits, and medical history. Examples of poor lifestyle habits include
Omega-3 fatty acids:
not getting enough exercise, being overweight, smoking, eating too much sugar, eating
large meals at one time, and heavy intake of saturated
and trans fats
. Some medical condi-
tions that put you at risk for high TGs are poorly controlled diabetes, obesity, and kidney
disease. Other risk factors may include certain medicines, drinking a lot of alcohol, and age.
Lopid®, Tricor®, and others
can lower TG and raise HDL-C.Nicotinic acid (also known as
How are TGs measured?
Niaspan®, Nicomide™, and
Your doctor will give you a blood test to measure the amount of lipids
cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol [LDL-C]
—the “bad” cholesterol and
high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol [HDL-C]
—the “good” cholesterol) in your blood. These
Lipitor®, Zocor®, Crestor®,
levels are expressed in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood.
Pravachol®, Lescol®, and Mevacor®are effective in lowering TGs and
How will I know if my TGs are high?
After you’ve completed your blood test, your doctor will give you a number for your TGlevel, letting you know if your TGs are normal or high. These are the different levels and
numbers that you will hear. Keep this handy to see how your levels measure up.
DID YOU KNOW?
Elevated TG levels may be risk factors for heart disease, even if your cholesterol levels
What can I do to lower my TGs if they’re higher than normal?
Q The good news is that high TGs can be reduced with some changes to your diet and
lifestyle. Here are some things you can try:
Exercise regularly: Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity per day.
Limit sugar and starchy foods (like white bread and rice): Choose unsweetened foods anddrinks, and try to eat more whole grains (like whole-wheat bread and brown rice).
Avoid alcohol: It can affect the liver, which increases TG production. If you drink red winefor heart health, limit the amount to 5 ounces per day or eliminate it all together.
F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N :
Try eliminating unhealthy fats from the diet: These are called saturated
fats (found in
T A L K T O Y O U R P H Y S I C I A N
meats, whole milk, and coconut oils) and trans
fats (found in cookies, french fries,
O R V I S I T W W W . C C M D W E B . O R G
doughnuts, and “fast foods”). Instead, eat foods with healthier fats like monounsaturated
(found in olive, canola, and peanut oils) or polyunsaturated
(found in sesame, corn,
Eat more fiber: Fresh fruits and vegetables, and oatmeal are great sources of fiber.
Eat more fish: Certain fish like tuna and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty-acids
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®, Secaucus, NJ
Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Reliant Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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