When your triglyceride levels are too high, you may not have symptoms. It's a "silent" problem that quietly causes big problems, such as making you more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
A simple blood test is all it takes to check your triglyceride levels. If they're too high, you can get them back under control, often by changing your daily habits.
If you already know that your triglyceride levels are too high, the actions you take now might even save your life.
Heart Attack, Stroke Risk
Your high triglyceride levels can make you up to 4 times more likely than people with healthy levels to have a heart attack or stroke.
Once you have either, you’re more likely to have another one. If you survive, your life will change at least for the short term and maybe much longer as you work on recovering.
You can lower your risk by following the healthy lifestyle your doctor recommends to lower triglycerides. Start today.
Type 2 Diabetes
Having high triglycerides could be a sign that you’re becoming insulin-resistant, which means your body isn’t using insulin (a hormone that controls blood sugar) properly.
When insulin doesn’t do its job, glucose can't get into your cells. That raises your blood sugar levels, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Having diabetes makes you much more likely to have a heart attack and other heart problems, in addition to the risk from your high triglycerides.
Untreated diabetes is a major health threat. To manage it well, you may need to track everything you eat, test your blood sugar, exercise, lose extra weight, take medication as directed, and keep up with your medical appointments.
Many people don't know that they have diabetes. Your doctor should check on whether you do, and if so, help you get both your diabetes and your triglycerides under control.
Liver and Pancreas Problems
If your triglyceride levels are “very high” -- above 500 mg/dL -- you are more likely to get inflammation in your pancreas and liver disease.
Inflammation of the pancreas (a condition which doctors call pancreatitis) can cause permanent tissue damage. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, which may be severe.
If you develop liver disease, you may not know it, since it often doesn’t cause symptoms. Still, it can lead to cirrhosis, which keeps your liver from working properly.
If you do have liver disease, your doctor's treatment should include healthy eating and exercise -- just like the plan for treating your high triglycerides.
Begin today. Talk to your doctor or other health care provider about exactly what you need to do to start living a healthy lifestyle to lower triglycerides, help prevent a heart attack or stroke, and avoid or manage diabetes.