How are high triglyceride levels a problem in insulin resistance?

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Dr. Jack Merendino, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
The insulin resistance syndrome causes low HDL cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. High triglyceride levels increase the risk of peripheral vascular disease and can lead to pancreatitis. Triglyceride levels can vary over time in the same person, and they may rise or fall depending on whether the blood sugar is under good control or not.
Normal triglyceride levels are under about 150 mg/dL, but levels in the 500s, 600s, or even over 1,000 are seen commonly in people with uncontrolled high blood sugar levels. The statin drugs do not lower triglycerides very effectively, but another class of medication, the fibrates, lowers triglycerides very well; to a lesser degree, these drugs also lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.
Fibrate drugs include gemfibrozil (Lopid), clofibrate (Atromid-S), and fenofibrate (Tricor, Lofibra, Triglide, and Antara). You may be a good candidate for one of these drugs if you have a low LDL cholesterol level but a high triglyceride level. If both the LDL cholesterol and the triglyceride levels are elevated, a fibrate may need to be given along with a statin drug. The main side effect is muscle pain, just as with the statin drugs, and using the two kinds of medication together does increase the possibility of muscle damage, so you must be monitored carefully.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.