Triglycerides are molecules of fat stored in our bodies. High amounts of triglycerides in our blood, sometimes labelled as "serum triglycerides" in lab reports, can be related to high cholesterol and diabetes. In the United States, the amount of triglycerides in the blood is measured by weight and reported in milligrams per decilitre (mg/dl). The world standard, however, is to measure triglycerides by count and report the result as millimoles per litre (mmol/L). A mole is a way of counting the number of molecules of a substance present.
Divide by 88.57. To convert a triglyceride measurement from mg/dl, you must divide the reading by 88.57. For example, a triglyceride reading of 160 mg/dl is equivalent to 1.81 mmol/L. (Calculated as 160/88.57.)
Multiply by 88.57. To convert a triglyceride reading from mmol/L to mg/dl, multiply the measurement by 88.57. For example, a triglyceride value of 2.8 mmol/L is equivalent to 248 mg/dl. (Calculated as 2.8 multiplied 88.57.)
Understand the numbers. The American Heart Association states that a triglyceride result of less than 150 mg/dl is normal. A reading of 150 to 199 mg/dl is considered to be elevated and 200 to 499 mg/dl is high. Any result of 500 mg/dl or more is very high.
Be aware that this is an approximation. These conversions can involve some pretty lengthy decimals, so it is important to remember that when you convert from one measurement to another the result may not be exact.
Remember your neighbours. The United States is the only country to use the mg/dl measurement. When writing a paper or posting on a community forum that may be read by people outside the U.S., it is considered polite to refer to both the mg/dl measurement and the standard mmol/L measurement.
This conversion works only for triglycerides. A different conversion must be used for glucose, LDL, HDL and other levels.
Tips and warnings
- This conversion works only for triglycerides. A different conversion must be used for glucose, LDL, HDL and other levels.