Daily Archives: May 12, 2011

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Terrible Triglycerides

A little over a week ago I did a guest post for Stefanie over at The New Healthy.  I chose the topic “Knowing Your Numbers” because I feel that sometimes we focus too much on what we look like on the outside, how our clothes fit, etc. and not enough on what is happening to us on the inside.  The topic is also very personal for me as many of my family members have diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol.  I know that my chances of being diagnosed with one of these diseases is likely, but instead of just accepting that, I choose to educate myself on what these diseases are, what the numbers mean, and what prevention looks like.  I want y’all to do the same!!!  Let’s keep the ball in our court for as long as possible!

I got my usual WebMD email at work this week, and as I was perusing through it, an article titled “Lifestyle Changes Reduce Triglycerides” caught my eye.  See, one of the numbers I focused on for my guest post was triglycerides, hence my interest.

Triglycerides are a type of blood fat associated with heart and blood vessel problems and other diseases.  By making lifestyle changes and eating healthier diets, people can lower their high triglyceride levels significantly.  Appropriate changes could reduce triglycerides by 20% to 50%, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

For individuals outside the normal range, scientists recommend limiting:

  • Added sugar to less than 5% to 10% of total calories consumed
  • Fructose, from processed foods and naturally occurring foods, to less than 50-100 grams per day
  • Saturated fat to less than 7% of total calories
  • Trans fat to less than 1% of total calories
  • Alcohol, especially if triglyceride levels are higher than 500 milligrams per deciliter

Researchers also recommend limiting sugar-sweetened beverages to less than 36 ounces per week.  They also say that people with high triglyceride levels should eat more vegetables, fruits (cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries, bananas, peaches), high-fiber whole grain, and omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish.

Eating right is only part of the equation.  The AHA also states that people with triglycerides levels in the 150-199 milligrams per deciliter range should incorporate physical activities into their normal routine (i.e., brisk walking for at least 150 minutes per week).  This may help to reduce triglyceride levels by 20% to 30%.

In my guest post, I stated that the optimal number should be 150 or less.  However, the AHA is stating that the new optimal level for triglycerides is 100 milligrams per deciliter. 

If you’re reading this post and thinking, “There is no way my triglyceride level is high,” think again!  About 31% of Americans adults have triglyceride levels of 150 milligrams per deciliter or higher.  And the affected age group is young adults between 20 and 49.  So, even if it isn’t you, it may be someone you love…spread the word!

I’m not a doctor or a medical professional, but I know from watching numerous family members suffer from not being educated about their numbers that this is important stuff.

If you take nothing else away from this post or even my guest post, please remember this, visit your doctor for regular checkups, get your blood work done, and ask questions to ensure that you are healthy from both the inside out as well as the outside in!

Source: WebMD Medical News; Lifestyle Changes Reduce Triglyceride Levels