What Are Triglyceride Levels?

Written by wanda thibodeaux
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Normally, the human body gets fuel from the food that is consumed. Sometimes, if the body needs the fuel immediately, then the energy from the food is used up right away. Other times, a person takes in more food than is needed to meet energy requirements and the extra energy from the extra food is stored in the body. The extra energy is stored in fat cells in the form of triglycerides. Triglyceride levels can give an idea of a person's health.

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Triglycerides Explained

Triglycerides basically are a form of energy that the body can use. The body converts calories that are not needed right away into triglycerides, which then are stored in the body within fat cells. The body breaks down the triglycerides later when the energy within them is needed. Triglycerides can be consumed through the diet, but they also can be manufactured by the body when food is scarce.

Levels

A triglyceride level is the result of a blood test that is designed specifically to monitor the level of fat, or how many triglycerides, are present in the blood/body. Triglyceride levels can be monitored through the blood test regardless of whether an individual's triglyceride level ends up being low, normal, or high.

Level Types

There are four separate triglyceride levels. The first level, normal, has a triglyceride result of 150 mg/dl. Next is borderline high, which is 150-199 mg/dl. High is 200-499 mg/dl. Lastly, a level of 500 mg/dl or more is considered very high.

Significance

Triglyceride levels are important because they can signal a potential medical problem. For instance, high triglyceride levels often are associated with high cholesterol levels, and high cholesterol levels are associated with problems such as heart attack and stroke. High triglyceride levels could be an indication that a person needs to have a better diet, as well.

Reliability

Although it is important to keep an eye on triglyceride levels, the test for triglyceride levels is not foolproof. Certain conditions can give results that are misleading to the person's overall health. For example, pregnancy can interfere with triglyceride level testing because moms-to-be naturally store more fat in preparation for the birth and taking care of the newborn. This can give the impression that triglyceride levels are dangerously high when in reality the mother truly needs the fat that is stored at that time. Individuals therefore should discuss any current medical conditions with their physician prior to testing so that the results can be more accurately interpreted.

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