Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. They are a major source of energy and fat in the human body are found most frequently in this form.
After the meal, the body uses the calories necessary for getting quick energy. Extra calories are converted into triglycerides and then stored in fat cells (cells that make up the fat) to be used later.Excess calories are stored as fat, regardless of the type of food consumed – fats, carbohydrates or proteins. If you consistently consumed more calories than you need then your blood triglyceride levels to rise. In normal amounts, triglycerides are useful for ensuring the health of the body.
It is not known if when triglyceride levels are accentuated directly increases the risk for heart disease. But hypertriglyceridemia (many triglycerides in the blood) is part of a group of disorders called the metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome consists of the following elements: high blood pressure, obesity, low HDL cholesterol (a fat “good”) and hypertriglyceridemia. This syndrome increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Measuring blood levels of triglycerides is performed as part of the well known analysis that measures blood cholesterol. The normal level of triglycerides is less than 150. Values above 200 are considered pathological (too high).
The cause of hypertriglyceridemia fecventa is obesity and poorly controlled diabetes (ie blood glucose levels are maintained within normal values). If an individual is obese and sedentary, then you have high triglycerides, especially if they consume carbohydrates (eg bread, pasta, potatoes, etc.), sweets and alcohol in excess. Alcohol can cause sudden increases in blood triglyceride levels, which can have as a consequence inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
Other causes of high triglycerides are hypothyroidism (thyroid hormones synthesized it does not work well), kidney disease, certain disorders of lipid metabolism (of fats) inherited.
Estrogen replacement therapy, used to control menopausal symptoms women may also cause hypertriglyceridemia. Other drugs, such as oral contraceptives, diuretics, beta-blockers (eg, metoprolol, Propanolol) and steroids can cause the hypertriglyceridemia.
It happens very rarely that have elevated triglycerides in isolation (no other analyzes altered), usually associated with other changes.
Triglycerides part of metabolic syndrome. This is a group of disorders that increase the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke (CVA) and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome includes high triglycerides, low levels of LDL, blood pressure, blood sugar and obesity, especially around the waist.
Triglycerides in itself does not cause symptoms. However, if the disorder is caused by a genetic disorder, then the individual may have fat deposits in the skin called xanthomas.
In rare cases, individuals with hypertriglyceridemia may develop pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), which can cause sudden abdominal pain, intense, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fever.
- Normal …………………………………. less than 150 mg
- The upper limit ………………….. values between 150 and 199 mg
- Elevated………………………………….. between 200 and 499 mg
- Very high values ……………………….. 500 mg
If triglycerides are elevated cholesterol levels is likely to be high. In many cases, individuals do not know they have high triglycerides until who do a blood test called lipidogram they will check blood cholesterol levels.
If it finds a hypertriglyceridemia, the physician is obliged to seek and other conditions that may be associated with it. These include diabetes, hypothyroidism, kidney disease and metabolic syndrome.
Treatment – General
Lowering triglyceride levels can be achieved through weight loss, limited consumption of sweets and fats, reducing alcohol consumption and physical activity. Antivirals may be used if the individual has risk factors for acute coronary syndrome (myocardial infarction, angina, heart pain ie, occurring at rest, angina on effort appears increasingly less so.) . In this case the strategy is to lower LDL cholesterol (fats “bad”) cholesterol and increase HDL (“good” fats) before adding drugs to lower triglycerides.
It knows that if it’s before lowering HDL and LDL increases then the risk of heart attack and death are reduced, but not known whether lowering triglycerides has the same protective effect.
The first step to control the level of blood triglycerides is to reduce calories in the diet, promote physical activity and reduce the amount of alcohol consumed. Quitting smoking is also indicated. Indicate and reducing the amount of carb intake and unhealthy fats (eg lard, pork etc).
Alcohol has an important role on the level of triglycerides. Excessive alcohol consumption, daily or occasionally, can cause significant increases in triglyceride levels. Consumption of large quantities suddenly alcohol can trigger pancreatitis. Medical advice is to reduce or even completely quit drinking.
There are useful diets that can reduce the amount of unhealthy fats in the diet. It is helpful for the patient to be informed on the amount of carbohydrates they contain certain foods.
For the type of activity allowed is needed advice. You can also ask a dietitian for a nutrition program proposal according to the individual.
If triglyceride levels did not normalize the changeovers lifestyle, then you probably need to insert drug. If there is the high cholesterol and are present and other risk factors for heart disease, then perhaps we need a combination of drugs that act on different types of cholesterol.
Statins are used to lower LDL and raise HDL’s. Once these two get in the normal range, then you can add fibrates and nicotinic acid therapy to aim directly at lowering triglycerides.
If triglycerides are high, the doctor may use the first drug to fall on them to prevent the onset of pancreatitis.
Fibrates (fibric acid derivatives) should be used with caution in combination with statins, because it increased risk of developing a serious muscle disease, life-threatening, called rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of muscle fibers), which in turn can lead to kidney failure (kidneys do not work). So it is extremely important that the onset of treatment to be investigated renal and hepatic function. If any problems occur, such as muscle disorders and pain, the patient must be the doctor immediately.
Treatment if the condition gets worse
If triglyceride levels continue to rise despite treatment with medication and a change in lifestyle, the doctor should investigate the patient in looking for the cause that causes this phenomenon, such as hypothyroidism.
If the patient is not yet instituted a treatment, then you probably would be the first step introducing drugs. If the patient was already taking medication, the next step will be either already antivirals prescribed dose modification of either the addition of new treatment regimen.
In patients who will be treated with a combination of statins with fibrates is extremely important as liver and kidney function to be integrated. The patient will be advised to seek medical advice if they experience any kind of pain or muscle problems.
Another option for those whose medications have failed to sufficiently reduce blood triglyceride levels is to recommend dietary supplementation with omega-3 acids (found in fish oils) or by adding supplements containing this type of acid or by advising the patient to eat fish 2-3 times a week. It has been shown that these omega-3 have the ability to reduce blood triglyceride levels.
An equally important element is to analyze how the patient manages to really make the necessary changes in lifestyle. It may recommend calling a dietician to assist in making some healthy diet containing foods. To help the patient to perform exercise so useful can be recommended that they try to do a sport in an organized environment (eg a gym, aerobics etc.) In which a professional coach to draw up an exercise program to match patient needs and style. Also recommend walking as an option instead of using public transport or private car.
Useful changes in lifestyle:
- Weight loss (triglycerides are stored as fat and muscle tissue)
- Eating fewer calories (calories in excess of the needs of the body are stored as triglycerides)
- A balanced diet based on healthy foods (no excess carbohydrates, sweets, sodas and fruit)
- Eliminate unhealthy fats from your diet
- Reducing or even eliminating alcohol from the diet
- Increasing physical activity
- Stopping smoking.