Troublesome Triglycerides (Part 2)

In last week’s blog entry, you learned a little bit about triglycerides: what they are, what causes them to be high, and why it’s not good if they’re too high. This week, we’ll continue to talk about triglycerides, but this time, we’ll look at how you can lower your levels if they’re above target (150 mg/dl).

It’s worthwhile to note that triglycerides, in and of themselves, aren’t “bad.” Remember that they’re a storage form of energy for the body. The problem comes in when they accumulate in the blood—heart disease being the primary problem.

So, what can you do if your levels are above 150 mg/dl? First, make sure that your triglycerides were tested after you fasted for about 12 hours. In other words, your reading won’t be accurate if you just polished off a Happy Meal at McDonald’s. Second, talk to your health-care provider about reasons why your triglycerides might be high. Is your diet the culprit? Or could it be your diabetes?

How is diabetes related to high triglycerides? Actually, uncontrolled blood glucose levels often go hand in hand with high triglycerides. The reason has to do with insulin. Insulin is needed to help move not just glucose into cells for energy, but also protein and fat. Therefore, if you don’t have enough insulin on board (whether from your own pancreas or from injections), you can have high blood glucose and triglyceride levels. If you and your health-care provider suspect that this is the case, your main job, then, will be to focus on getting your diabetes under better control.

You can take other steps to lower your triglycerides. Let’s run through these one by one:

Get your triglyceride levels checked regularly, and make sure you keep track of them and all your diabetes numbers, including HbA1c, blood pressure, albumin, and LDL and HDL cholesterol. The more you know about your health, the more you can do to stay healthy.

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Amy Campbell: Amy Campbell is the author of Staying Healthy with Diabetes: Nutrition and Meal Planning and a frequent contributor to Diabetes Self-Management and Diabetes & You. She has co-authored several books, including the The Joslin Guide to Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association’s 16 Myths of a “Diabetic Diet,” for which she received a Will Solimene Award of Excellence in Medical Communication and a National Health Information Award in 2000. Amy also developed menus for Fit Not Fat at Forty Plus and co-authored Eat Carbs, Lose Weight with fitness expert Denise Austin. Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Simmons College and a master’s degree in nutrition education from Boston University. In addition to being a Registered Dietitian, she is a Certified Diabetes Educator and a member of the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Amy was formerly a Diabetes and Nutrition Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center, where she was responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of disease management programs, including clinical guideline and educational material development, and the development, testing, and implementation of disease management applications. She is currently the Director of Clinical Education Content Development and Training at Good Measures. Amy has developed and conducted training sessions for various disease and case management programs and is a frequent presenter at disease management events.

Disclaimer of Medical Advice: Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information, which comes from qualified medical writers, does not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs.