You got your blood test results back from the doctor, and you were told that your triglycerides were too high. What does that mean? You've heard about good and bad cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels, but what are triglycerides?
If this describes your situation, there's not need to panic. While high triglycerides are not something you should ignore, it is something that can be corrected. All it takes are a few easy to follow steps, and you can take care of the problem before it becomes something serious.
Triglycerides are a form of fat that travels through the blood stream to your cells. When your triglyceride levels are too high ti means you have too much fat in your blood stream. Normal levels are typically considered to be less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Some newer recommendations coming out are suggesting that it should be lowered to 100 mg/dL.
Triglyceride levels increase and decrease based on many factors. For short periods elevated levels are not a big concern, but if left untreated it can lead to other problems. High triglyceride levels are considered to be a marker for metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, both of which are precursors to Type 2 diabetes.
While there may be some genetic factors factors that lead to higher triglyceride levels, the biggest factors are diet and weight. Reserach has shown that the glycemic load of carbohydrates has a large impact on triglyceride levels. Glycemic load is a measure of how fast the sugars from different foods enter the blood stream. Foods with a high glycemic load deliver a lot of sugar in a short period of time, which increases insulin production.
Fortunately, lowering triglyceride levels is something you can do without having to rely on prescription drugs. As with many health issues, it comes down to diet and exercise. In fact, the steps you should take to lower your triglycerides will also help to remedy other health problems, including decreasing your risk of strokes, heart disease, and some cancers.
The first step is weight control. If you are overweight, you should start working toward losing weight. Obesity is the biggest contributing factor for a myriad of chronic diseases. Try to get to weight that has you at less than 200 on the body mass index scale.
You should also develop the habit of regular exercise. Even if that just means walking 3 or 4 times a week. Do something physical on a regular schedule.
Next is increasing the amount of dietary fiber. Most American do not get enough fiber in their diets. Choose foods that are natural and unprocessed. Most processed foods are low in fiber. Eat a salad made up of green leafy vegetables daily, and choose whole grain breads instead of white bread.
You also need to make sure you are getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. You can get that by eating fish like salmon. If you don't eat enough fish you can also get your omega-3 by taking a quality supplement.
If you've never had your triglyceride levels checked, you should contact your family doctor and schedule an appointment. having a regular physical, including blood work, can detect many potential problems before they become serious.