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Cholesterol & Triglycerides Health Center

Stick With Your Treatment for High Triglycerides

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When your triglycerides are high, your doctor has probably mentioned all the things that help: eat less fat and sugar, exercise more, and take medicine.

That's a lot of change. But for every obstacle you face, there’s a way to overcome it.

Obstacle: You hate to exercise.

Solution: You’re more likely to make exercise a part of your healthier life if it’s convenient and enjoyable. It also helps to work out with a buddy who shares your goals. If you have aches or pains, see if your doctor can recommend a physical therapist. Your health insurance company may cover the cost if your doctor refers you. If your insurer doesn’t cover physical therapy, also check out certified personal trainers to design a custom approach to exercise that will work with your lifestyle. Either way, you want a workout program customized to your likes and your schedule. 

Obstacle: You’re having a hard time staying on your diet.

Solution: Try a new approach to your plate: Fill half with vegetables or fruit. Then, fill a quarter with high-fiber grains like quinoa or brown rice. Add a few ounces of protein -- fish, chicken, lean meat, or beans -- to the last quarter. Enjoy a serving of low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese on the side. You can also consult a pro. Ask your doctor to refer you to a nutritionist who can help you plan a balanced diet.

Obstacle: You can't remember to take the medicine your doctor prescribed.

Solution: Put your pills in a weekly pill organizer, and keep it on your kitchen counter. Try to take your medicine at the same time each day -- for instance, with breakfast or dinner. Program a reminder into your cell phone, or write it on your calendar. If you're traveling, stick a note in your suitcase reminding you to pack your medicine. It’ll jog your memory the next time you pack for a trip.

Obstacle: You don’t like how your medicine makes you feel.

Solution: Let your doctor know. It may be possible to switch to another drug or adjust your dose. Like all medicines, triglyceride treatments can have side effects. Usually they’re minor. You may feel nausea, weakness, or bloating. Some medication can have an aftertaste. There are several types of drugs that help lower triglycerides, including fibrates, prescription-strength fish oil, niacin, and statins. Each can affect people differently, so keep trying until you find the one that works best for you. It is possible that lifestyle changes alone will be the best approach.

If you follow your treatment plan carefully, you could see start to see a drop in your triglycerides within a few weeks. Stay positive, and focus on the goals you and your doctor have set. You’ll get there!

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on October 24, 2014

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Desirable
0-199
Borderline
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240+

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Congratulations! Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal.

Congratulations! Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is borderline high. If your LDL goes higher, your total cholesterol level could become Borderline High. Consider reducing the amount of foods you eat with saturated fats and increasing physical activity. If you get more exercise, your level of "good" HDL cholesterol may increase, which could also help to keep your levels of LDL and total cholesterol in check.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High. This may mean that your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, is too low. It is best to have a high level of "good" HDL and a low level of "bad" LDL. The HDL helps keep your LDL level in check. Ask your doctor for your HDL level. If your HDL is low, increasing your physical activity can increase it, which may help reduce your LDL level.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. This may mean that your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, is too low. It is best to have a high level of "good" HDL and a low level of "bad" LDL because the HDL helps keep your LDL level in check. Ask your doctor for your HDL level. If your HDL is low, increasing your physical activity can increase it, which may help reduce your LDL level.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High, but fortunately your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have other non-measured increases in LDL-like particles that can increase heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High, but fortunately your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have other non-measured increases in LDL-like particles that can increase heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Borderline High, too. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. But your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol is High, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have elevated secondary lipids, such as non-HDL particles that increase the risk of heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol is High, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have elevated secondary lipids, such as non-HDL particles that increase the risk of heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Borderline High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High, too. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels! If you are struggling to bring down your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe medication, such as statins. Following medication, dietary, and exercise instructions should result in improvements.

Your total cholesterol level is High, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels! If you are struggling to bring down your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe statins or other cholesterol-lowering medications.

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