What Causes High Triglycerides?

Ever since it came into public focus that along with cholesterol, triglycerides should be kept in check as well, people have been asking: “What causes high triglycerides?” To answer this question, one sentence is not enough as the occurrence of high blood triglycerides can be due to any one of the multiple possible causes, if not a combination of them.

Obesity and triglycerides – The first and the most common reason is overconsumption of fatty food items like fried, oily or sugary treats. An imbalanced diet itself can upset the functioning of the human system, and if that imbalance is brought on in the form of fatty food, then that person will certainly become overweight pretty soon and even obese, if a significant change in lifestyle is not brought about quickly. Triglycerides are created as backup energy by the liver and are stored as a kind of fat for later use; therefore the more unhealthy weight you gain, the more the saturated triglyceride levels will increase.

Medications and triglycerides – While it is unknown to many, there are also medicinal drugs that can raise the triglyceride count in our body. The most common types of medications that are often responsible for high triglycerides include steroids, birth control pills, beta-blockers, estrogen, tamoxifen and diuretics. To determine which ones are affecting your triglyceride levels, consult your physician.

Alcohol and triglycerides – Along with having a detrimental effect on one’s liver, excessive alcohol consumption can also raise the triglyceride and cholesterol count in one’s blood. Not only does alcohol bring down the production of the liver enzymes which process triglyceride molecules, it also affects the organ in such a way so as to increase triglyceride production. People who are more intolerant towards alcohol should avoid it totally as even a little can contribute a lot against their case.

Liver and triglycerides – The liver is responsible for both making and breaking down triglycerides and therefore, if anything affects the liver, it is almost certain to affect the blood triglyceride count. This is the reason as to why liver diseases like fatty liver can take the triglyceride count way too high (500 mg/dL +). Right from alcohol abuse to kidney disease, anything and everything that raises triglycerides affects the liver directly or indirectly.

Kidneys and triglycerides – Kidney diseases can be responsible for raising one’s triglycerides because an affected kidney can no longer maintain the balance between the waste products, the electrolytes and bodily fluids. In fact, it has also been noticed that someone with a very high level of blood triglyceride is more susceptible to kidney failure as it raises blood creatinine levels.

Diabetes and triglycerides – Patients suffering from type 2 diabetes are more likely to have high blood triglyceride levels because of altered glucose metabolism. In the year 2010, it was found that the increase in blood sugar, which is characteristic to diabetes, actually initiates the production of a special kind of protein that stops the processing of triglycerides.

Genetic disorders and triglycerides – Although quite rare, but there are certain genetic disorders as well which might be responsible for raising triglyceride levels abnormally. Patients suffering from these diseases must undergo treatment to keep the triglyceride levels down. An example of such a disorder includes familial combined hyperlipidemia. It may also increase the level of LDL cholesterols in blood; in extreme cases, visible lesions on the outer skin known as xanthomas can occur along with other more severe effects like fatty lever or pancreatitis, if left unchecked.

Hypothyroidism and triglycerides – Be it subclinical hypothyroidism or clinical hypothyroidism, raised triglyceride levels can be a sign of abnormal thyroid hormone activity. A clear link between low secretion of T3/T4 thyroid hormones and raised triglyceride levels were established recently and thus it can be concluded that an underactive thyroid contributes to raising blood triglycerides.

What one may take away from this is the fact that through exercising, proper dieting and a healthy lifestyle from the beginning, one can keep the triglyceride levels down and that holds true for most of us. The few of us, who have no control over their increasing triglyceride count however, should be under regular medical supervision and must practice extra caution so as not to neglect any danger signs.