Triglycerides serum test: Why does it matter?

Triglyceride serum test- Healthians
Contributed by- Rachana Arya

Here’s why triglycerides serum test matters. Because if you have too much of these substances in your blood from snacking up hamburger and french fries, they can damage your arteries, leading to a heart attack.


What is the Triglycerides serum test?

The triglycerides serum test measures the amount of triglycerides in your body. Triglycerides are a kind of fat found in your blood. They enter your bloodstream through the food you eat. Any excess calories, alcohol or sugar that you consume is stored in the form of triglycerides by the body for later use. When your body needs energy, triglycerides are released into your bloodstream to provide energy for your muscles to work.

Triglycerides are very important for your body. They are a major source of energy for the muscles; however excess levels can lead to many health complications. If you regularly eat more calories than your body needs, your triglyceride level may be high. Studies have linked high levels of triglycerides in the blood with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) or stroke.

Another name for this test is a triacylglycerol test.


Who should get a Triglycerides serum test?

A triglycerides serum test is recommended every 4 – 6 years to evaluate the risk of heart disease in healthy adults. Frequent testing may be required when people have identified risk factors for heart disease. Your doctor may order the triglycerides test if you:

  • Smoke
  • Are overweight 
  • Consume extra alcohol
  • Have unhealthy eating habits
  • Have an inactive or sedentary lifestyle
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have heart disease or had a heart attack or 
  • Have medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid disease, or kidney disease


Why is the Triglycerides serum test needed?

The importance of the triglycerides test to health cannot be overstated. Just as you can have high cholesterol without knowing, you may not have any symptoms of elevated triglyceride levels. So it is important to detect it with health check-ups on a regular basis as high levels are a precursor to many other serious conditions.

Your doctor may use the results to prevent, check on, or diagnose a medical condition. The results of investigations help your doctor analyse the risk of heart attack and stroke. The test helps estimate the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood. It can show if you have inflammation in your pancreas (called pancreatitis) or if you’re at risk of developing atherosclerosis which occurs when fat builds up inside your arteries.  These health conditions, if not addressed in time, can cause immense damage to the body. 


What does a Triglycerides serum test result mean?

Here’s how the national guidelines for triglyceride test numbers stack up:



               Triglcyeride Level


                Less than 150mg/dL

                  Borderline high

                150 to 199 mg/dL


                200 to 499 mg/dL

                  Very high                 500 mg/dL and above


Higher than normal levels:

Elevated levels may be due to:

    • Liver damage
    • Low-protein and high-carbohydrate diet
    • Underactive thyroid
    • Kidney disorder
    • Poorly controlled diabetes
    • Genetic disorder

It is a sign you need to work harder to boost the health of your heart. 


Lower than normal levels:

This may be due to:

  • Low fat diet
  • Hyperthyroidism 
  • Malabsorption syndrome 
  • Malnutrition


How is the Triglycerides serum test done?

Triglyceride testing is done by drawing a blood sample from a vein located on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. Current standards recommend that testing be done when you are fasting as triglyceride levels are normally high after you eat. Therefore it is advisable that you wait for 9 to 12 hours before the test. You may only drink water. 

Remember, keeping a close tab on your triglyceride levels is the first step towards taking charge of your heart health, and changing it for the better.


Check your Triglyceride levels 

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