Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can I reduce my levels of triglycerides?"
Will exercise help or should I cut back on fast food? Is it too late?
Triglycerides are a fancy term for the most common type of fat. Thus when you eat a cheeseburger, the grease that you see is actually just a bunch of triglycerides. We measure triglycerides in your blood because people with high triglycerides tend to have more heart disease than those with lower triglycerides. In this way, triglycerides are similar to the bad cholesterol. High triglycerides are also able to cause other problems such as pancreatitis. When I have patients that come in with high triglycerides, the first action I try to take is to change their diet and add more exercise. These are probably the two most important actions you can take to reduce your triglycerides. You should change your diet to include more fruits and vegetables and less red meat and sugars. In addition adding 30-40 minutes of exercise several days a week can help. If you are overweight, then weight loss can also lower your triglycerides. Finally, we do have medications that can assist in this problem if they are needed. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a look at how high your triglyceride levels are. If they are dangerously high, then the doctor may recommend changes in your diet, exercise, and perhaps adding a medication. If they are not that high, then you can start with just diet and exercise.
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