Cholesterol Advice

Triglycerides Test

Triglycerides are a type of unsaturated fatty acids which are a major part of very low density lipoprotein. They play an important role in metabolism as their main function is to act as energy source and as carriers of dietary fat.

Negative impact of Triglycerides
A high level of triglycerides in the bloodstream has been linked to atherosclerosis, and by extension the risk of heart disease and stroke. Further, high levels of triglycerides also cause pancreatitis, a disease of the pancreas. However, the relative result of raised levels of triglycerides in comparison to that of LDL/HDL ratio is as yet unknown.

How is the test conducted?
Test for checking the levels of triglycerides is something which can not be performed in isolation. The only way to do it is through a lipid profiling, which then gives the figures for other things such as LDL-Cholesterol and HDL-Cholesterol as well. As a matter of fact, it has been seen that there is a strong inverse relationship between triglyceride level and HDL-cholesterol level, which is what observers use to determine the level of risk posed by triglycerides.

A blood sample is drawn from a vein of your hand or a small drop of blood is obtained from a tip of your finger for the test. The former is conducted for a laboratory test while the later is performed to check triglycerides using a digital cholesterol monitor.

Why it is conducted? What are the medical reasons behind?
As mentioned earlier, test for triglycerides forms a part of lipid profiling. This can be used to monitor the status of those who are already suffering from heart-related problems and are on any type of treatment for high triglyceride levels or HDL-Cholesterol. It becomes imperative to monitor the levels of triglyceride especially if one is diabetic. The reason to do so is the fact that there is an alarming rate of increase in levels of triglycerides observed in those whose blood sugar levels fluctuate excessively.

When should you get this test done?
Testing the levels of Triglycerides (which is a part of lipid profiling) is something which all healthy adults should get done once every five years. The interval of testing significantly narrows down for those who have already been identified with high levels of triglyceride in their bloodstream. The test then can be used to monitor the success (or failure) of their treatment.

Children below two years are not considered fit for testing. For those between two to ten years the rate of testing depends on factors such as a history of heart or health problems (such as diabetes, hypertension, or overweight) in the family. In case of older children and adolescents who have been identified with risk factors which could result in heart diseases at a later stage of their life triglyceride testing is recommended at a somewhat regulated pace (ranging from twice a year to up to four times a year).

What do the results indicate?
The desirable level of triglycerides in the bloodstream is any figure below 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L). The risk increases as the figure goes up. The level of the risk posed to one’s health can determined with the help of the figures mentioned below:

* Very high risk level: Greater than 500 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L)
* High risk level: 200 to 499 mg/dL (2.3-5.6 mmol/L)
* Borderline high risk level: 150 to 199 mg/dL (1.7-2.2 mmol/L)

How to lower triglycerides levels?
To learn to reduce triglycerides, read article on lowering triglycerides .