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Another Reason to Track Those Triglycerides

Another Reason to Track Those Triglycerides

In the children’s book Matilda, when Bruce Bogtrotter, a student at Crunchem Hall Primary School, stole a chocolate cake from the mean headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, she punished him by making him eat an enormous cake in front of a school assembly.

Ms. Trunchbull hoped to humiliate Bruce, but failed totally. She did succeed, however, in getting his triglycerides to spike! Levels of this blood fat rise when you eat sweet foods, processed carbs, trans and sat fats, or consume excess alcohol.

Chronically elevated levels are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart woes. Research has shown that guys 26 to 54 with the highest triglyceride levels have four times greater risk of heart disease and stroke than peers with the lowest levels.

And there’s another hazard: A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found even slightly elevated triglyceride levels boost your risk for pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that causes severe abdominal pain and can even be fatal. Seems registering 177 to 265mg/dL (less than 150mgdL is healthy) raises your chance of pancreatitis by a whopping 130 percent!

Ask your doc for a blood test to check your level. If it’s even slightly elevated (or even if it isn’t), follow these healthy practices:

  • Eliminate refined grains, added sugars, added syrups, and excess alcohol from your diet.
  • Lose weight if you need to; a 5-10 percent reduction results in a 20 percent decrease in triglycerides.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of added physical activity daily—headed for 10,000 steps a day or the equivalent.

Get personalized advice for keeping your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control.

Medically reviewed in July 2018.

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