Low Cholesterol & High Triglycerides

by Jonathan Croswell

About Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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Cholesterol is one of the best-known health risks you may face. Triglycerides are also hazardous to your health, although they are less well-known. These two fat-based molecules can accumulate in your blood and cause health problems over a long period of time, and keeping them in check isn't as simple as eating a low-cholesterol diet.

Cholesterol Types

Cholesterol can be broken down into two types that are drastically different from each other--high-density lipoproteins, or HDLs, and low-density lipoproteins, or LDLs. When people talk about having too high of cholesterol, they are referring to LDLs, which can clog arteries, increase blood pressure and heighten your risk of a heart attack and stroke. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is healthy for the body and can help preserve heart and blood health when present in high levels. An ideal body has low LDL and high HDL levels.

Triglycerides

Tricglycerides are a form of fat molecule present in the bloodstream. Triglycerides are produced by having excess calories converted into triglycerides, which run through your bloodstream before being stored away in fat cells. If you consume more calories than needed consistently at meals, it can lead you to have high triglyceride levels. Because they aren't dissolved by your blood or fluids, they can pollute your bloodstream.

Misconceptions

One popular notion, according to the New York Times, is that having low cholesterol is the key to a healthy heart and a reduced risk of heart attacks and heart disease. But having high triglycerides or low HDL cholesterol levels can also have a negative effect and threaten your health. This is known as metabolic syndrome, and it leaves individuals with a high risk of heart disease and stroke even if they have low LDL levels.

Risks

The risks of having high triglyceride levels are numerous and are similar to the risks of high cholesterol: you will be at a greater risk of developing heart disease, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart attacks or stroke. High triglycerides can also be a precursor to type 2 diabetes.This can lead to a reduced life expectancy.

Prevention/Treatment

Maintaining a healthy diet that is well-balanced and features lean meats and dairy products can help keep your cholesterol and triglycerides within a normal range. Eat smaller portion sizes and stick to foods low in cholesterol and saturated fats. You should also reduce your alcohol consumption to no more than one or two drinks a day and exercise several times a week for 30 minutes or more, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.