Triglycerides as Important as Cholesterol

Q: My cholesterol levels are okay, but my triglycerides are off the charts. Does one balance the other?

A: Unfortunately, no. Triglycerides, a type of fat found in your bloodstream, haven’t gotten the same attention as cholesterol, but unhealthy levels (over 200 mg) can increase your risk of heart attack and heart disease.

Lifestyle changes can reduce high triglyceride levels, however, as a recent issue of the Harvard Heart Letter points out. First, be smart about your fats and carbs by cutting down on saturated and trans fats and avoiding sugary foods and refined grains. Whole grains and omega-3-rich fish can make a difference, too, so make these foods staples of your diet.

Getting regular exercise is also crucial, and if you’re overweight, losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight can help. While moderate drinking (especially red wine) can benefit heart health, for some people, alcohol dramatically increases triglyceride levels. If your levels are high and you drink, consider stopping for a few weeks and getting your levels tested again. Finally, certain supplements may be beneficial; talk to your doctor about fish oil and niacin.

Learn more:
Take Charge of Your Cholesterol
The Health Benefits of Omega-3s

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at drbrent@care2.com.

15 comments

Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Excellent article. Thanks for the great info.

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Shin Takahashi
Shin Takahashi5 years ago

it's great help for me.Thanks

JC G.
JC G.6 years ago

thanks for the information

Darla G.
Darla G.6 years ago

thanks great info

gail d.
gail dair6 years ago

thankyou

gail d.
gail dair6 years ago

thankyou

Karina P.
Karina P.6 years ago

Thank you!

Christine B.
Lynn Christy6 years ago

thanks, good to know... =)

Edwin Kierulf
Edwin Kierulf7 years ago

"First, be smart about your fats and carbs by cutting down on saturated and trans fats and avoiding sugary foods and refined grains. Whole grains and omega-3-rich fish can make a difference, too, so make these foods staples of your diet." - Dr. Brent


I couldn't agree with you more on that point Doc.
Diet and exercise are two important factors in lowering a person's Triglycerides levels. Aside from these, taking fish oil capsules also help in reducing triglycerides levels and therefore avoid coronary artery disease.
Prevention is always worth more than any cure.