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High Triglycerides

Triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood, are an important measure of your health, especially your heart. If your triglyceride levels are too high, you may have a higher risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes or heart disease.

Healthy triglyceride levels

The American Heart Association lists the following levels for triglycerides:

  • Normal: Less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
  • Borderline high: 150 to 199 mg/dL
  • High: 200 to 499 mg/dL
  • Very high: 500 mg/dL or higher

High triglyceride risk factors

You can control many of the risk factors for high triglycerides, including the following:

  • Overweight or obesity
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • A very high carbohydrate diet (more than 60 percent of total calories)
  • Estrogen therapy or oral contraceptives
  • Poorly controlled diabetes

Some risk factors that you cannot control include the following:

  • Genetic disorders causing high triglycerides
  • Family history of heart diseases or high triglycerides
  • High blood pressure

How can I get help for high triglycerides?

Some serious complications of high triglycerides include the following:

  •     Coronary artery disease (narrowing or hardening of the heart arteries)
  •     Heart attack
  •     Stroke
  •     Pancreatitis

Your primary care doctor can check your triglyceride level along with your cholesterol levels, using a simple blood test.

Care for high triglycerides at Rush

Your physician may recommend starting your treatment for high triglycerides with lifestyle changes. Rush’s multidisciplinary approach brings together cardiovascular specialists, nutritionists and physical therapists to help you do the following:

  • Develop a healthy eating plan
  • Get regular exercise
  • Manage your weight
  • Quit smoking

If your high triglycerides do not respond to these lifestyle changes, your doctor may prescribe medications to lower your triglyceride levels.

Why choose Rush for high triglycerides care?

  • Rush offers a comprehensive lifestyle program through the Rush University Prevention Center. You can get help with diet, exercise, weight loss, stress management and smoking cessation from an experienced health care team.
  • For patients with related heart and vascular conditions, specialists in cardiology can coordinate your entire care plan all in one place.
  • The experienced physicians at Rush have been recognized by U.S. News and World Report for excellence in heart care.


Departments and programs that treat this condition