Top 5 FAQs about triglycerides answered

Triglycerides are essentially a type of fat, which is found in the blood and is used by the body for energy and routine, ongoing activities.

We all need a decent amount of triglycerides for day-to-day functioning. However, a high level of triglycerides can be a sign of metabolic syndrome and, most commonly, cardiovascular diseases that increase your risk of heart diseases, diabetes and stroke. Today, we take a look at the top 5 FAQs about triglycerides.

With expert inputs from Dr. Graham Jackson, Consultant Cardiologist at London Bridge Hospital, Surrey.

Where do cholesterol and triglycerides come from? Cholesterol and triglycerides provide energy to the body's cell. It comes from our food that we eat and our body that makes it. It is produced from the carbohydrates and fat that we eat only after 8 hours of our eating. Our liver takes these cholesterol and triglycerides that we ate from our blood stream and then wraps them in protein packs and sends them to tissues for its function. When there is no dietary triglyceride available, then the liver produces them and sends for its function.

What are LDL and HDL? HDL is commonly known as High Density Lipoprotein, which is good for the heart. It is a kind of cholesterol that is produced by liver to carry cholesterol and other fats from tissues. It cleans the walls of blood vessels and protects from building excess cholesterol in the artery. LDL is referred as Low Density Lipoprotein, which is one of the main five lipoproteins. LDL cholesterol tendency is to build up and cause blockage in the artery. That's why LDL is considered as Bad Cholesterol.

Why are high LDL cholesterol levels bad? High LDL cholesterol is considered as dangerous because it starts blocking the inner walls of the arteries, which feeds the brain and heart to function. If a clot forms in the artery or blocks a narrow artery, then a heart attack or stroke can result.

Why is HDL Cholesterol called 'Good' Cholesterol? HDL cholesterol is considered as good cholesterol for heart and overall health, as it helps to remove the cholesterol from the arteries and protects against dangerous blockages in the arteries. HDL cholesterol backs to the liver, where it is recycled in the body. The principal of HDL is simple, the "Higher is better". Even a person, who has lower HDL in their lipid profile (inclusive of HDL and LDL), are at more risk of Heart disease.

What are the best lifestyle habits to lower plasma triglyceride levels? Lose weight, if you are obese and particularly, around your waist.

Exercise daily. Any kind of activity will work like walking, gym, aerobics, cycling, playing, as it increases good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides.

Limit your intake of alcohol, as alcohol is high in calories and sugar and has great effect on triglyceride.

Quit smoking, as it increases the chances of heart diseases.

Avoid trans fat from your diet i.e. like fired, snacks, junk food.

Reduce your intake of calorie that helps to reduce the triglyceride.

Dr Graham Jackson is a Consultant Cardiologist at London Bridge Hospital, London and BMI Shirley Oaks Hospital in Croydon, Surrey. Dr Jackson's NHS base was Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals, where he is now an honorary consultant. His interests include the detection, management and treatment of sexual dysfunction in cardiac patients. He is the author of BJAIN book- Heart Health At Your Finger Tips.

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