It's your health: Hypertriglyceridemia

Dr. Robert Drake

Hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) is fasting serum triglyceride3 levels of over 150 mg/dl and is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Severely elevated levels of over 500 increase the risk of pancreatitis.

The risk factors for HTG are:

* Obesity

*Metabolic Syndrome

*Type 2 diabetes mellitus

*Excess alcohol use (More than 2 drinks daily in men or more than one in women.)

*Physical inactivity

* Being overweight

*Use of certain medications (Beta blockers, steroids, thiazide diuretrics)

*Genetic disorders


*Liver disease

Optimal lifestyle management of HTG combines nutrition and physical activity has shown to consistently reduce HTG levels and improve cardiovascular risk factors. Weight reduction of 5% improves risk factors for heart disease. Reducing sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing protein intake lowers HTG levels. Eating foods low on the glycemic index limits the rise of serum HTG.

Statin therapy is recommended in patients with HTG levels 150-499 mg/dl and borderline or intermediate cardiac risk. In patients with established heart disease the new drug Vascepa had a lower likelihood of cardiovascular death, heart attack or nonfatal stroke. Omega 3 fatty acids lower HTG levels and is available over the counter. Niacin is also used to treat HTG nut has common adverse side effects of flushing. Fibrates such as LOPID also lower HTG.

Information on this article is from American Family Physician, Sept 15, 2020.

Dr. Drake is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and is a past-president of the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians and a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Dr Drake has practiced in Somerset since 1984.

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