Stick With Your Treatment for High Triglycerides

Medically Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo, MD on June 13, 2021

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!

Show Sources


Michael Miller, MD, director, Center for Preventive Cardiology, University of Maryland Medical Center.

Robert Bonow, MD, endowed professor of cardiology, Northwestern University; past president, American Heart Association.

Wing, R. Diabetes Care, July 2011.

Harvard Health Publications: "Calories burned in 30 minutes of leisure and routine activities."

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: “How to Write an Exercise Prescription.”

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