What are triglycerides and why do they matter?

What are triglycerides?

Triglycerides are a type of fat you get from the food that you consume. They are found in the blood and provide your body with energy. Your body will produce triglycerides when it converts excess calories to fat for storage. Some are necessary for the proper cell functions, but too much is unhealthy.

Triglycerides are the main ingredient of natural fats and oils, and high concentrations in the blood indicate an elevated risk for heart problems or strokes. If you are taking in calories your body doesn’t need to use right away, it’s converting them to triglycerides. If you regularly eat more calories than you burn, you may have high levels.

Cholesterol and triglycerides go hand-in-hand, so people with high LDL cholesterol often have raised levels of triglycerides.

Why do they matter?

Triglycerides may contribute to hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls. Having a high level in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

High triglyceride levels are often a sign of having high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels.  They can also be attributed to uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism, liver or kidney disease, or rare genetic conditions that affect how your body converts fat to energy.

See:

What is a normal triglyceride level?

What is the difference between triglycerides and cholesterol?

How did I get high triglyceride levels or how do I prevent it?

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