What makes the triglycerides high in the blood? I don’t eat a lot of fatty foods and don’t drink.

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I recently had a cholesterol blood test performed and I wanted to ask a few questions. First of all, my results: Total cholesterol 187mg/dl, Triglycerides 360 mg/dl, HDL cholesterol 29 mg/dl and LDL cholesterol 86 mg/dl. I understand that my total cholesterol below 200 is okay, HDL is low, LDL is okay and triglycerides are high. I exercise 5-6 times a week taking aerobics. I weigh 176 lb., height is 5′ 8″. I’ve been at a high level of exercise (1 hr aerobics + some extra time) for over 1 year and I’ve lost 25 lb. I lost most of the weight during the first 3 months of my current program and have been stable at 176 lb. for many months. I have much more muscle definition now than when I started this program. I’m 38 and have done various forms of exercise most of my life.

Questions:

  1. What makes the triglycerides high in the blood? I don’t believe I eat a lot of fatty foods and I don’t drink. I also don’t drink many soft drinks. What might make my triglyceride blood level high?
  2. What can be done to improve HDL levels?

Thank you for your comments.

Congrats on a great exercise program! Have you considered adding strength training to your program?

Alcohol and sugar-sweetened foods increase triglycerides. If you don’t drink alcohol, then perhaps you eat sweets other than carbonated beverages?

Exercise usually increases HDL levels and considering your exercise program, I would think yours would be in a more optimal range of 35 – 70 mg/dl. Estrogen (not a consideration for males) or insulin therapy increase HDL’s. Your LDL’s are great though. Your blood lipids results seem a bit disproportionate to each other in particular the LDL and triglycerides. Have you talked to your doctor about your results and what does he/she say? Also, what is the lipid profile like for other members of your family like parents and siblings? Is there a family history of heart disease?

Is your blood glucose in normal ranges? Undiagnosed diabetes can cause an increase in triglycerides and a decrease in HDL’s.

BTW, your healthy body weight range is 139 – 169 pounds. Depending on your percent body fat, you still could be about 7 pounds overweight. Though this would not contribute to your high triglycerides and low HDL’s.