High Triglycerides

Learn the details about high triglycerides.

High Triglycerides

High triglycerides are found in a medical condition where the body has abnormally elevated triglycerides. They have been linked as a risk factor to several diseases. The condition is also known as hypertriglyceridemia, which means high blood levels of triglycerides.

What exactly are triglycerides? Simply put, they are a type of glycerides, where the glycerol is formed in to esters with three fatty acids. Both animal fats and vegetable oils have triglycerides as their major component.


High triglycerides symptoms can vary in one case as compared to the next. In some cases where the elevated levels are only mild, no physical symptoms may be present. Some potential symptoms include the following:

Abdominal pain
Appetite loss
Itching (from xanthomas mentioned below)
Lipemia retinalis (retina veins having white, milky appearance)
Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
Xanthomas (fatty deposits under the skin)

Other symptoms may also be present, including those from an underlying cause that may be involved.


High triglycerides causes range significantly in type. Some possible causes may include the following conditions:

Certain medications
Diabetes (especially diabetes mellitus); insulin resistance
Excessive alcohol consumption
Familial hypertriglyceridemia
Fatty liver, cirrhosis, or other liver disease
High sugar diet; poor diet; lack of exercise; obesity
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
Kidney disease or failure; nephrotic syndrome

Additional underlying causes may need to be considered. The condition can also be idiopathic (without known cause). Continue reading a more detailed list of potential causes.


Diagnosis of high triglycerides is conducted by a doctor or medical professional. A test, known as the triacylglycerol test, may be used to take a blood sample in order for check triglyceride levels.


High triglycerides treatment may be based upon factors such as the extent of the elevation, the patient, the underlying cause, and others. Limiting fat and carbohydrates in the patient's diet is a common treatment method. Fish oil, niacin, statins, and fibrates may each be options to be taken. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have been noted as effective in lowering triglycerides.


Several complications may arise through high triglycerides. Some conditions it may be a risk factor for include:

Blood clots in arteries
Heart attack
Inflammatory response