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The triglyceride test is used to look for triglycerides, which is a type of fat (lipid) found in the blood. This test helps to assess the risks of developing blockages in the heart and the brain. Increased amounts of triglycerides might indicate major heart, kidney, or brain diseases.
People who follow a lifestyle of unhealthy foods and less physical activity or those who are suffering from obesity are more prone to having increased levels of triglycerides. It is very crucial to establish an accurate diagnosis of triglyceride levels to proactively mitigate the risks of stroke or any major cardiovascular disease.
The other names are: serum triglycerides, Trig, and TGL.
There is only one parameter.
The triglyceride test analyses the number of triglycerides in the blood. These triglycerides are a type of body fat (lipid). Chemically, triglycerides consist of three molecules of fatty acid combined with a molecule of glycerol alcohol.
The high levels of triglycerides in the blood have been linked to atherosclerosis, which increases the risk of heart disease (coronary artery disease), peripheral artery disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque (made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances) builds up inside the arteries (blood vessels), resulting in a narrowing of the lumen. This obstructs the flow of blood to the organs and other parts of the body. Signs and symptoms of atherosclerosis usually do not appear until severe or total blockage of the artery (blood vessel). Therefore, most people are not aware of atherosclerosis until they have a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or a stroke.
The increased level of triglycerides might also be seen in metabolic syndrome (cluster of metabolic risk factors for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke). Very high triglyceride values may also cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
The Triglycerides test is usually done as a part of a lipid profile, which includes the other tests like Cholesterol, High-density lipoproteins (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) also.
Normal - Below 150 mg/dL
Borderline High - 150 - 199 mg/dL
High - 200 - 499 mg/dL
Very High - Above 500 mg/dL
A lipid profile that includes triglycerides is recommended every year to evaluate the risk of heart disease in healthy adults. Children should have a lipid profile screening at least once between the ages of 9 and 11 years old, and once again between the ages of 17 and 21 years old.
Testing might be ordered more frequently when people have identified the risk factors for heart disease. Usually, some of the risk factors for heart disease include:
Being overweight or obese
Being physically inactive - not doing enough exercise
Age (Men 45 years or older or women 55 years or older)
High blood pressure (hypertension - blood pressure of higher or taking high blood pressure medication)
Family history of premature heart disease (heart disease in an immediate family member-male relative under age 55 or female relative under the age of 65 years)
If there is pre-existing heart disease or if you have already had a heart attack.
Diabetes or prediabetes
In diabetes, it is especially important to have triglycerides analysed as a part of any lipid testing since triglycerides increase significantly when blood glucose levels are not within control. Earlier and more frequent screening with a lipid profile is ordered for children and young people who are at an increased risk of developing heart disease as adults. Some of the risk factors are very similar to those in adults and include a family history of heart disease or health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or being overweight.
No special preparation is required and fasting is required for this test.
This test requires a blood sample.
A healthcare provider, who is also called a phlebotomist, usually performs blood draws, including those for a triglyceride test, but any healthcare provider trained in drawing blood can perform this task. These samples are sent to a lab where a medical laboratory scientist prepares the samples and performs the tests on analysers or manually.
You may expect to experience the following during the blood test or a blood draw:
You have to sit comfortably on the chair, and a healthcare provider will check your arms for an easily accessible vein. This is the inner part of your arm on the other side of your elbow.
Once the phlebotomist has located a vein, they will clean and disinfect the area with an alcohol swab.
They will insert a needle into your vein to draw a blood sample. They may feel like a small pinch.
After they insert the needle, the required amount of blood is drawn into a test tube.
When they have drawn enough blood for the test, they’ll remove the needle and hold a cotton ball or gauze on the pricked site to stop any bleeding.
They will apply a band-aid over the pricked site, and the blood collection is finished.
This process takes less than five minutes.
Once the phlebotomist has collected the blood sample, it will be sent to the laboratory for processing or testing. When the reports are ready, your healthcare provider will share the results with you.
These blood tests are very common, and they don’t carry any significant risks. You can have a slight pain like an ant bite when the needle gets inserted, and a small bruise might develop there.
This report is available via email or WhatsApp within 6 hours of the collection of the blood sample.
The value of the triglyceride test is given in terms of mg/dl, or milligrams per decilitre. However, they differ from lab to lab. Here the values are mentioned as mg/dL.
Normal values are usually under 150 mg/dl, which could mean that triglycerides levels in the bloodstream are under control, and you might not be facing any risk of heart disease or diabetes.
Triglyceride levels that are higher than the normal range are considered abnormal. The following is the correlation between triglyceride values and the risks associated with them:
151-199 mg/dL indicates a moderate risk.
200 - 499 mg/dL indicates a high risk
Any value above 500 mg/dL is an indication of very high risk.
The conditions that are associated with high triglyceride levels are as follows:
Heart diseases like atherosclerosis (hardening of the blood vessels)
Inflammation of the pancreas
Low levels of thyroid hormone or dysfunction of the liver (cirrhosis) and kidneys (nephrotic syndrome) may also lead to high triglyceride levels. Furthermore, low protein and high carbohydrate diets could be a reason for the increased values. Certain female hormonal medicines may also be one of the contributors.
The normal triglyceride level is 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
The borderline high level is 150 to 199 mg/dL.
The high level is 200 to 499 mg/dL.
The very high level is more than 500 mg/dL.
Normal ranges might vary slightly among different laboratories. Some of the labs use different measurements or might test different samples. Speak to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
Lipid profile, Kidney functions
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Frequently Asked Questions on Triglycerides Test
Increased levels of triglycerides might contribute to the hardening of the arteries by thickening the artery walls, which increases the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Extremely high triglycerides may also cause acute inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
A warning sign of high triglycerides is a condition called acute pancreatitis. These symptoms include sudden, severe belly pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, rapid heartbeat, and rapid breathing. Other warning signs include swelling and pain in your liver or spleen. Very high triglycerides might cause blocking of the blood supply to the heart or brain.
To lower triglycerides, certain dietary and lifestyle changes may be required. To maintain triglycerides within a healthy range:
Be physically fit and active for 1 hour every day
Eat a healthy diet with fewer unhealthy fats and simple sugars or carbohydrates and more fibre.
Control high blood pressure and diabetes
Stop having alcohol
Get enough sleep.
Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.
The normal levels of triglycerides in the blood are:
Normal - < 150 mg/dL
Borderline High - 150 - 199 mg/dL
High - 200 - 499 mg/dL
Very High - > 500 mg/dL
The reference range might vary from lab to lab.