What makes triglycerides high?

Triglycerides are the most common kind of fatty molecule in most living organisms. A triglyceride is a glycerol which has been esterified with three fatty acids, which is why the prefix “tri” appears prominently at the beginning of the word. We hear a lot about triglycerides as they related to health, and how having too high a triglyceride count can make us less healthy. High triglycerides are associated with higher risk for stroke and heart disease. High triglycerides have also been implicated in a greater risk for pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas. But what makes triglycerides high?

High triglycerides, medically called hypertriglyceridemia, and even in people with low cholesterol, it has been associated with certain health problems. This is a problem which has few outward symptoms. Modestly high triglyceride levels are not outwardly apparent at all in most people. In higher concentrations, high triglycerides are associated with the appearance of small, sometimes itchy lumps on the skin, and with a white appearance in the retina of the eye.

And what causes it? What makes triglycerides high?
High triglycerides can be caused by a variety of outside and internal influences on the body. Some causes for high triglycerides are considered idiopathic. An idiopathic cause for high triglycerides means that the exact cause is unknown or not understood. When the cause of high triglycerides is obscure or is not readily appearance, it is considered idiopathic.

Other causes are much better identified. Obesity can cause high triglycerides. Obesity is a growing epidemic associated with a wide variety of other health problems, ranging from diabetes to an increased risk for some cancers, to insomnia. Obese people have a dangerous excess of body fat stored within their bodies. Among the health risks associated with obesity is high triglycerides, which is not surprising as obese people have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke than the rest of the population.

A diet too high in carbohydrates can cause high triglycerides. Good diet is important, both in maintaining a healthy weight and for providing the proper nutrition to our bodies. When a person’s diet is disproportionately full of carbohydrate loaded foods like breads, pastas and rice. Some carbohydrates are important to a good diet because while carbohydrates are not considered essential, the energy they provide is easily assimilated and enables people to function better than they would without. Making sure that carbohydrates are moderate in our diet is one way to prevent high triglycerides.

Excessive alcohol consumption can also cause lead to the conditions that makes triglycerides high. Alcohol consumed in very careful moderation may provide some medical benefits, but even then it may correlate with increased likelihood of developing some diseases. When drunk to excess, alcohol damages many of the body’s organs, most especially the liver, and is associated with a wide variety of health risks.

Certain medical conditions such as genetic predisposition and hypothyroidism can also affect triglyceride levels and cause high triglycerides. Nephrotic syndrome, where the kidneys are damaged and leak protein into the rest of the body, is another medical condition which can cause high triglycerides. Along with these diseases, some medications which people may take for other conditions are also associated with causing high triglycerides. Isotretinoin, a medication used to treat severe acne, has been known to elevate triglyceride levels.

Diet is an important component in controlling triglyceride levels, and the best way to treat what makes triglycerides high is prevent getting them in the first place. Diets rich in Omega-3 fatty acids improve heart health and lower levels of triglycerides. In studies, Omega-3 supplements proved useful in lowering high triglyceride levels in patients. Omega-3 fatty acids are found abundantly in fish like salmon, herring and sardines.

Last updated on Sep 27th, 2010 and filed under Cardiovascular Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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