Celebrate National Triglycerides Day

While people like to complain that there is a holiday for everything, we like that there are days that act as a call to action. Today is National Triglycerides Day. It’s a good day to learn more about triglycerides and make an appointment to learn your numbers.

Triglycerides are a form of fat found in the blood. Calories the body doesn’t use immediately are stored in the form of triglycerides to be used later. Everyone has some triglycerides, but high levels can lead to thick or hard artery walls. That can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack or heart disease. High levels can also cause problems for your pancreas and blood sugar.

High levels of triglycerides don’t cause blood sugar concerns. But they can indicate that the body isn’t handling carbs correctly. It can be a sign of insulin resistance. Diet, exercise and medications can lower triglyceride levels.

High triglycerides can also be a sign of metabolic syndrome and genetic conditions. Higher levels can be caused by taking some kinds of medications as well as lifestyle factors. Limiting alcohol use and choosing healthier fats can benefit levels. Quitting tobacco can also be beneficial.

Triglycerides are tested with a blood test called a lipid panel. It also checks cholesterol levels to get a fuller picture of your health. It’s a simple test, but you do have to fast beforehand as the fats from your meals can confuse the results. If you are above 55, you should have a lipid panel done every one to two years. If you are above 65, you should take the test once a year.  

A diet high in fiber can help lower triglycerides. Red meat is high in unhealthy fat, and other animal products cause your body to absorb more triglycerides, so switching to a vegetarian diet may help you lower your levels. Reducing the amount of carbs you eat can also be beneficial.

You can take steps to improve your triglycerides that can help your heart and blood sugar health. The first step is knowing what your levels are! Until you have solid numbers, you don’t know if your plan should be based on medication or lifestyle changes.

Today, to celebrate National Triglycerides Day, make a doctor’s appointment to discuss your risks and whether you should get a blood test. Once you have that information, you can take the next steps!

Banner image: National Cancer Institute via Unsplash

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