What Are Triglycerides?
Triglycerides are esters that are formed with a combination of three fatty acids and a glycerol. These are a particular kind of fat that is present in the blood and can be in the form of saturated or unsaturated fats. The saturation level depends upon the source of the Triglycerides. Saturated fats are generally in a solid form as its melting point is high. On the contrary, unsaturated fats are in liquid form since they have a low melting point.
Triglycerides are one of the main components in animal fat and vegetable oils. The saturation level is more in the case of animal fats and less in the case of vegetable oils. In humans, triglycerides play the role of storing extra calories which is then burned to produce energy when required. Therefore, it is an essential constituent of the body. However if the triglycerides are high, then it can bring about grave problems like a stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and other heart diseases.
The blood test that is conducted to check for cholesterol content in the blood can also test for the triglycerides. Following enlisted are the parameters on the basis of which one can check if the level of triglyceride in their body is high or not:
- Lower than 150mg/deciliter – normal
- In between 150-200mg/deciliter – at the verge of turning high
- In between 201-500mg/deciliter – high
- Over 501mg/deciliter – extremely high
Difference Between Triglycerides And Cholesterol
Although triglycerides and cholesterol are forms of lipids that are present in the blood, they are different in terms of their functionality, problems as well as benefits. The comparison is enlisted below:
- Triglycerides is formed with a glycerol molecule getting attached to three linoleic or oleic fatty acids making up a chemical structure like CHOH2-CHOH-CHOH2 ; whereas, the chemical structure of cholesterol is C27-H4-OH.
- Triglycerides are found in the blood as a result of the conversion of calories that are unused or by intake of dietary fats. However, 2gms of cholesterol is produced by the human body every day and the balance is based on the diet pattern.
- Triglycerides are held inside the fat cells until there is a need to produce energy in the body by their metabolism. On the other hand, some cholesterol is processed by the body to produce bile acids and some attach themselves with fat cells.
- Triglycerides help in the production of energy, thus, they are vital in the development of new cells, (barring the brain-cells). Cholesterol is essential in order to produce testosterone and estrogen in men and women respectively.
- High levels of triglycerides can majorly cause problems like diabetes, kidney or liver disease and high cholesterol is responsible for grave heart diseases.
What Are The Causes For High Triglycerides?
There can be several causes that are responsible for increasing triglycerides in the body. Some of these are:
- Lifestyle – if you intake a lot of calories, yet do not work out or exercise to burn these, then they create high levels of triglycerides. Obesity and other lifestyle problems like smoking and drinking too much are other contributing factors.
- Diseases – If you are suffering from liver and kidney malfunctioning, then it can cause high triglycerides. Hypothyroidism can be another cause.
- Medication – It has been observed that several medications like contraceptive pills, steroids, diuretics, tamoxifen, estrogen, beta blockers, etc. cause risk of increasing the triglycerides level in the blood stream. You should always seek a consultation with a certified physician before taking any medication.
- Genetic – In some cases it is found that high triglyceride content in blood is part of the genes and runs in one’s family.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Triglycerides?
Generally, it is not feasible to observe any physical parameter and decide whether the individual has high triglycerides or not. Therefore, there are no major identifiable symptoms. Nevertheless, if the problem is genetic then xanthomas or fat deposits beneath one’s skin can be found.
Tips For Lowering High Triglycerides
If you have high levels of triglycerides, then you need to make the following changes in order to get it under control:
- Change your lifestyle – stop eating too much fatty or sweet food, stop smoking and drinking alcohol and start regular work outs to burn calories.
- Medicines – there are certain medicines that you can take for lowering triglycerides; however, this should be the last step. Always remember to see a doctor and never take medication by hearsay.