What Raises Triglycerides Levels?
Hypertriglyceriemia refers to elevated triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are fats in the blood, and in normal and healthy amounts, they are very valuable to the body. They are used by the body both for energy and as a means to store it. But, when hypertriglyceridemia is present, risk becomes increased for a wide variety of health concerns. Both heart attacks and strokes can occur as a result from complications arising from high triglycerides, and other conditions like pancreatitis are also associated with severe forms of the condition.
It is not uncommon to wonder what raises triglycerides. And, it is not always a simple answer. There are many things that can contribute to an elevated level of the blood fats. One common factor is simply genetic predisposition. If one or both parents had higher than normal triglycerides levels or a history of heart disease, then it is more likely that their children may have them as well. Another common cause is obesity, and being overweight and underactive can increase the likelihood that triglyceride levels will become elevated. What raises triglycerides can also be attributed to some medications. Beta blockers, steroids, estrogen and birth control pills can all contribute to increasing the risk of hypertriglycerdemia.
Some health conditions can also raise triglycerides. Diabetes when poorly controlled can play a role, and the two conditions are intimately related. Additionally, hypothyroidism can also create the right conditions for triglycerides to become elevated. Those suffering from kidney disease may also be more likely to have higher than normal triglycerides.
But, diet plays an incredibly important role in what raises triglycerides as well. While there are not necessarily any foods high in triglycerides to avoid with the exceptions of things like oil and butter, but there are certainly many that can dramatically increase their levels. Foods that are high in cholesterol are often responsible for elevating triglycerides as well as those that are very high in carbohydrates. In fact, diets that are very high in carbohydrates (more than 60% comprised of same) are a major risk factor for developing hypertriglycerdemia. Lifestyle factors are taken a step further beyond diet in terms of risk factors, with both alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking both also playing roles in development of the condition.
There is also a direct correlation between low HDL cholesterol and triglycerides as well. HDL cholesterol is that which is often referred to as “good” cholesterol which often found to be lower in people who have high triglycerides. Having these both an elevated triglycerides level as well as a low level of HDL cholesterol together can be signs of metabolic syndrome, which can dramatically increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This relationship is further evidenced in terms of food intake. What raises triglycerides in terms of foods also has a direct impact on HDL cholesterol and can lower this “good” form of fat in the blood. So, these dietary impacts are often twofold in this regard.
It is not always easy to determine whether or not enough HDL cholesterol is present in the body. While a low level is not always a serious cause for concern, the cholesterol HDL ratio can suggest otherwise. This mathematical function shows how much HDL cholesterol is present in comparison to the total cholesterol within the body. Therefore the lower the level of HDL in comparison to the total cholesterol in the body if elevated, can show the need for dietary and lifestyle changes in response. As triglyceride levels rise, the HDL cholesterol in the body often lowers, increasing this ratio.
Reducing triglycerides is often a multifaceted approach that involves medical care, lifestyle and dietary changes and often, medications if levels are high enough. Regular doctor visits are typically useful in monitoring levels of triglycerides in the blood. Reducing some of the factors responsible for what raises triglycerides in the first place is one of the best ways to return them to healthy levels. This means eliminating some foods from the diet that are high in saturated fats and refined sugars and carbohydrates. Additionally, avoidance of alcohol and tobacco are also recommended. Increasing exercise is also essential in promoting better overall health and reducing triglycerides as well as eliminating risk factors like obesity that can also contribute to their rise. In addition to these measures, medications like fibrates and statins may be employed, especially if levels are very high or there are other risk factors present. And, if what raises triglycerides in a particular individual is an underlying health condition, treatment of that condition can also help to reduce the levels of these blood fats.
It is important that evaluation and regular treatment by a health care provider be the foundation of the management of elevated triglyceride levels. This is because of the long term health effects that can result from leaving the condition unmanaged. With proper and well rounded care, levels of triglycerides in the blood can be controlled and reduced which can lower the risk of serious complications later down the road.