How Can I Lower My Triglycerides Quickly?

What Are High Triglycerides?

Pictured is an artist's conception of the molecules that make up a cell membrane, which is composed of cholesterol. You can lower your cholesterol by diet and lifestyle changes in the long term and medications like statins can work in the short term.
Pictured is an artist's conception of a cell membrane at the molecular level -- the membrane is made of cholesterol. You can lower harmful blood cholesterol levels by diet and lifestyle changes in the long term and medications like statins can work in the short term.

Triglycerides are a type of fat-like substance in the blood that the body uses for energy. Some triglycerides are needed but too much of them can put people at higher risk for heart attack, stroke, inflammation of the pancreas, and other health problems.

What Are Symptoms of High Triglycerides?

  • High triglycerides don't usually cause symptoms.
  • If high triglycerides are caused by a genetic condition, fatty deposits under the skin called xanthomas may be present. 
  • Patients with very high triglyceride levels (above 1000 mg/dL) may develop pancreatitis.

What Causes High Triglycerides?

High triglycerides are caused by certain medical conditions, lifestyle habits, and some medicines, such as:

High triglycerides also can run in families.

How Are High Triglycerides Diagnosed?

High blood triglycerides are diagnosed with a routine blood test called a lipid panel. A lipid panel measures total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in the blood. 

Triglyceride level ranges are: 

  • Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL 
  • A little bit high: 150 to 499 mg/dL  
  • Very high: 500 mg/dL or greater
  • Moderately high: 500 to 886 mg/dL 
  • Very high: Greater than 886 mg/dL 

What Is the Treatment for High Triglycerides?

In some cases, triglycerides may be lowered with lifestyle changes, such as: 

  • Losing weight if you are overweight
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Avoiding foods and drinks high in sugar and carbohydrates 
  • Avoiding red meat, fried foods, cheese, butter, oils, and nuts, especially if triglycerides are over 500
  • Adding more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet
    • Foods high in omega 3’s include: 
      • Dark, leafy green vegetables
      • Ground flax seed 
      • Soy and legumes
      • Walnuts
      • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • Increasing fiber in the diet
  • Limiting or avoiding alcohol 
  • Controlling diabetes 

These dietary changes such as avoiding sugars, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol, plus adding more omega-3 fatty acids to the diet may lower triglycerides more quickly. 

Medications used to treat high triglycerides include:

What Are Complications of High Triglycerides?

Complications of high triglycerides include:

How Do You Prevent High Triglycerides?

You can prevent high triglycerides by:

  • Following a heart-healthy diet
  • Avoiding or limiting alcohol
  • Reducing sugar intake
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight