Triglyceride test: A simple blood test to measure the level of triglycerides in the blood.
Triglycerides are the major form of fat stored by the body. Elevated triglyceride levels are considered to be a risk factor for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and coronary heart disease, because many of the triglyceride-containing lipoproteins that transport fat in the bloodstream also transport cholesterol, a known contributor to atherosclerosis.
Triglyceride levels are influenced by recent fat and alcohol intake, so you should fast from food for at least 12 hours and abstain from alcohol for at least 24 hours before being tested. Triglycerides are often measured as part of a lipoprotein panel or lipid panel in which cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) are also measured.
Mild to moderate triglyceride increases occur in many conditions, including alcohol abuse, obstruction of the bile ducts, and diabetes. High levels of triglycerides (greater than 200 mg/dl) are associated with a heightened risk of coronary heart disease. Markedly high triglyceride levels (greater than 500mg/dl) can cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
See also triglycerides.
Quick GuideCholesterol Levels: What the Numbers Mean
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Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016