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Triglyceride: What is it, Low, High and Treatment

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Triglyceride: What is it, Low, High and Treatment

Triglycerides, one of the important substances for the body, are basically a type of fat. Triglycerides affect many systems, especially energy metabolism. For this reason, it is healthy to keep triglyceride levels balanced. Since significant discomfort may occur in the body when triglycerides are low or high, treatment is needed in these cases.

What is Triglyceride?

Triglyceride is a type of fat found in foods that contains three fatty acid chains attached to a glycerol molecule. Fatty acids are organic compounds composed of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Since triglycerides have an important role in energy storage and metabolism, our body stores the excess energy in the food we consume as triglycerides. When we need this energy, triglycerides are broken down into free fatty acids and the necessary energy is provided.

What should be the triglyceride value?

When triglyceride value is mentioned, it refers to the triglyceride levels in the blood measured in the fasting state. It is usually measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Below are the levels expressed according to the amount of triglycerides:

  • Ideal Triglyceride Level: 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L) or lower.

  • Triglyceride Level at Altitude Limit: Between 150-199 mg/dL (1.7-2.2 mmol/L).

  • High Triglyceride Level: Between 200-499 mg/dL (2.3-5.6 mmol/L).

  • Very High Triglyceride Level: 500 mg/dL (5.7 mmol/L) or higher.

What is Low Triglyceride?

Low triglyceride is when triglyceride levels in the bloodstream are lower than the normal value of 150 mg/dL. Although low triglycerides are generally a rare condition, malnutrition and some health problems can cause low triglycerides.

What are the symptoms of low triglyceride?

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As with the deficiency of many substances that our body needs, low triglycerides cause various symptoms, especially fatigue. Symptoms due to low triglycerides can be listed as follows:

  • Extreme weakness: Since triglycerides are one of the body’s energy stores, low triglyceride levels can cause lack of energy and weakness.

  • Fatigue and weakness: Other symptoms caused by the lack of energy provided by triglycerides are fatigue and weakness.

  • Emotional changes: In some people, low triglyceride levels can lead to emotional changes, including depression, anxiety, irritability, and difficulty focusing.

  • Skin problems: Because triglycerides help keep skin hydrated and healthy, low triglyceride levels can lead to skin dryness, itching, skin rashes or sensitivity.

  • Immune system problems: Since triglycerides contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system, low triglyceride levels can reduce resistance to infections by affecting immune system functions.

What are the Causes of Low Triglyceride?

Low triglyceride levels may be caused by a genetic or metabolic disease or due to malnutrition. The reasons for low triglycerides can be explained as follows:

  • Malnutrition: Since triglycerides are energy sources obtained from fatty foods and carbohydrates, low consumption of these foods may cause a decrease in triglyceride levels.

  • Malabsorption: Since malabsorption is a disorder in which the ability of the intestines to absorb nutrients adequately is reduced, it may negatively affect the absorption of triglycerides and cause triglyceride deficiency in the body.

  • Liver disease: Because the liver is the organ where triglycerides are produced and metabolized, a disease that occurs in the liver can reduce triglyceride production.

  • Hypermetabolic states: Some hypermetabolic states refer to situations in which the body’s energy needs increase. For example, conditions such as excessive physical activity, hyperthyroidism, or burns can lead to low triglycerides.

  • Genetic factors: Although rare, some genetic disorders can cause low triglycerides.

How to Treat Low Triglyceride?

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Treatment of low triglycerides is based on determining the underlying cause. Treatment may often include changes in diet, lifestyle measures, or medications to increase triglyceride levels and bring them into a healthy balance. Here are some of the treatment options for low triglycerides:

  • Healthy diet: You can increase triglyceride levels by increasing the fat intake in your diet. Since it is important to focus on healthy fat sources in fat intake, foods containing omega-3 fatty acids such as olive oil, avocado and fish can be preferred. It is also beneficial to limit foods rich in refined carbohydrates and consume adequate amounts of fiber, fruits and vegetables.

  • Exercising regularly: Exercising is one of the factors that regulate triglyceride levels. Different degrees of exercise are recommended for both low and high triglyceride levels.

  • Drug Treatment: Depending on the cause of low triglycerides, the doctor may recommend drug treatment. For example, certain therapeutic medications may be used for diseases that cause low triglycerides, such as liver disease or malabsorption.

What is High Triglyceride?

High triglyceride is when triglyceride levels in the blood are higher than the normal value (more than 199 mg/dL). Since triglycerides play an important role in energy storage and metabolism, it is important that triglyceride levels in the body are balanced. Therefore, high triglyceride levels can lead to various health problems and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

What are the symptoms of high triglyceride levels?

Since the symptoms of high triglyceride levels are not very obvious, they are often noticed during routine checkups. But some symptoms can still occur when triglyceride levels are too high or remain at high levels for a long time. Symptoms of high triglycerides include:

  • Pancreatitis (Inflammation of the pancreas)

  • liver problems

  • Xanthoma (a lesional skin disease)

  • Symptoms seen in metabolic syndrome

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What Causes High Triglycerides?

Since high triglyceride levels do not cause many symptoms, they are usually detected during routine blood tests. The causes of high triglyceride levels can be listed as follows:

  • Obesity and insufficient physical activity: Obesity and a salamander lifestyle can cause triglyceride levels to rise.

  • Consumption of high carbohydrate and sugary foods: Foods containing excessive amounts of sugar, starch and refined carbohydrates can increase triglyceride levels.

  • Genetic factors: Some people may be genetically predisposed to high triglyceride levels.

  • Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is one of the conditions that increases the risk of high triglycerides.

  • Metabolic Syndrome: Metabolic syndrome is a disorder in which conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and high triglycerides coexist.

How to Treat High Triglyceride?

Treatment of high triglyceride levels includes various methods such as lifestyle changes, dietary regulation and medication to reduce a person’s triglyceride levels. These methods used in the treatment of high triglyceride levels can be explained as follows:

  • Changes in diet: A healthy diet is one of the important factors to keep triglyceride levels under control. Reducing consumption of saturated fat and trans fats, such as processed foods, fried foods and packaged snacks, and limiting foods such as white bread, white rice, sugary drinks and desserts will help lower triglyceride values.

  • Physical activity: Regular exercise helps lower triglyceride levels. You can plan at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise per week, but consult your doctor depending on your age and health condition.

  • Keeping weight under control: Since obesity or overweight can increase triglyceride levels, achieving a healthy weight and keeping your weight under control contributes to lowering triglyceride levels.

  • Drug treatment: In case of high triglycerides, the doctor may recommend drug treatment in addition to lifestyle changes. Medications containing statins, fibrates, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids help lower triglyceride levels.

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