Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are heart attacks caused by too many triglycerides in the body?"
My father and grandfather died of heart attacks. I eat out a lot and my tri levels are high. Could I have a heart attack?
Triglycerides is a fancy term used to describe the most common type of fat. Any time you cook meat in the frying pan, you can look down and see triglycerides (grease). Triglycerides are one of a few very important fat molecules that play an important role in whether or not you develop coronary artery disease which can lead to heart attacks. The other important molecule is cholesterol. Cholesterol comes in two varieties, the good cholesterol (called the HDL) and the bad cholesterol (called the LDL). Having a high LDL and/or a low HDL has been shown to be associated with having heart attacks. Thus these levels (which can be effected by your diet as well as your genes) are the most important for you and your doctor to pay attention to when trying to prevent heart attacks in your future. Having high triglycerides is also associated with heart attacks, but the association is not as strong. Improving your diet by adding in more fruits and vegetables and exercising more will help your triglycerides go down, your LDL go down, and your HDL go up. The best physician for you to see about this is your primary care physician. I suggest you schedule an appointment soon. The two of you can discuss a strategy to improve your triglycerides and cholesterol to help prevent that heart attack some day.
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