Triglycerides and How to Lower Them
What Are Normal and High Triglyceride Levels? continued...
Many experts believe that high triglycerides may be a sign of other heart disease risk factors. That is, high triglyceride levels could multiply the bad effects of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Some research also suggests that high triglycerides are a more important risk factor for women than for men, although this is also disputed.
One point is clear, though: A healthy diet and exercise plan can lower triglyceride levels, improve cholesterol, and lower the risk of heart disease.
What Is the Treatment for High Triglycerides?
The main way to deal with high triglyceride levels is by eating a healthier diet and getting more exercise. Here are some guidelines to help you manage your triglyceride level:
- Moderate exercise on five or more days each week can help lower triglyceride levels.
- Losing 5%-10% of your weight can lower triglycerides. People with a healthy weight are more likely to have normal triglyceride levels. Belly fat is associated with higher levels.
- Reducing saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol in your diet can improve triglyceride levels and help manage cholesterol. Eating less carbohydrates in your diet will also help lower triglyceride levels.
- Drinking alcohol can raise triglyceride levels. Some studies show that drinking more than one drink a day for women or two for men can raise triglyceride levels by a lot. Some people with high triglycerides may need to cut out alcohol entirely.
- Eating more fish high in omega-3s can lower triglyceride levels. Fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon are high in omega-3s. It may be hard to get enough omega-3s from food to help lower your triglycerides. Your doctor may recommend a supplement or prescription omega-3s.
For some people with high triglycerides, medicine may be needed. The decision to treat triglyceride levels with drugs can be complicated because other health conditions are usually involved. Several medications can improve triglyceride levels:
- Fibrates such as Lopid, Fibricor, and Tricor
- Nicotinic acid, also called Niaspan
- High-doses of omega-3s are needed to lower triglycerides and should be taken only under a doctor's care. Epanova, Lovaza, and Vascepa are prescription forms of omega-3s.
- By taking steps to improve your triglyceride levels, you'll likely improve your overall health, fitness, cholesterol levels, and risk for heart disease.