What are normal triglyceride levels?

Triglycerides are fatty molecules that circulate in the blood. High levels of these fats are often associated with high levels of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, and low levels of HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Normal triglyceride levels are those below 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), which is also sometimes measured as 1.7 millimoles/liter (mmol/L). Levels higher than this can be a risk factor for heart disease or diabetes.

Groups like the American Heart Association recommend that anyone over age 20 get a blood test to measure triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Only one blood sample needs to be collected for multiple tests. A person undergoing such tests must fast overnight before blood is drawn. Typically, eight hours is considered an adequate time to fast. False high readings are a common problem with measuring triglyceride levels, and several factors can interfere with getting measurements of a person's normal triglyceride levels.

For example, eating a rich meal can temporarily increase blood triglyceride levels. It can take more than eight hours to metabolize all the fat in some cases. Therefore, it is now recommended to fast for 14 hours before drawing blood for triglyceride testing. Also, alcohol should be avoided at least 24 hours in advance as it can cause a substantial transient rise in triglyceride levels. Vitamin supplements are another item that should be avoided in the 24 hours before this exam.

Borderline triglyceride levels are generally considered to be in the range of 150 to 199 mg/dL (1.7 to 2.25 mmol/L). These high levels often coincide with high levels of undesirable (LDL) cholesterol and low levels of desirable (HDL) cholesterol. This can make it difficult to accurately classify which component of increased lipids contributes to the increased risk of heart disease and stroke due to elevated triglyceride levels.

There are different standards for triglyceride levels for each sex. Women should have a lower level of triglycerides in their blood than men. One estimate puts normal female triglyceride levels at 82.5% lower than those of men. This would make the target level for women 124 mg/dL (1.4 mmol/L) if American Heart Association standards are met.

While normal triglyceride levels have traditionally been targeted at less than 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L), there are some medical experts who consider this to be too high. These people believe that while this figure is normal, it includes a proportion of people who are unhealthy. Other healthcare professionals consider that levels above 100 mg/dL (1.1 mmol/L) contribute to the risk of heart problems and diabetes.

Go up

This website uses third-party cookies