Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

A healthy lifestyle can reduce your triglyceride levels.

A healthy lifestyle can reduce your triglyceride levels.
beginning of content

Triglycerides

3-minute read

Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood. They are usually measured along with cholesterol when you have a cholesterol blood test. If you have a high triglyceride level, talk with your doctor about what to do. There are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your triglycerides.

When you eat, your body converts unused energy from food into triglycerides, which is stored in your fat cells. Between meals, your body releases energy from triglycerides. If you usually eat more kilojoules than you use, you may have high triglycerides.

Triglycerides and cholesterol

Your doctor will usually check for high triglycerides as part of a cholesterol test.

Cholesterol is another type of fat. It has many uses in the body, including producing hormones and building cells.

There are good and bad types of cholesterol. Too much 'bad' cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) can block your blood vessels, which increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

High triglycerides can increase your risk of a stroke, heart attack and heart disease. High triglycerides may be a sign of metabolic syndrome, which is a collection of conditions such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

An extremely high triglyceride level can cause inflammation of the pancreas, which is the organ in your tummy that produces insulin.

If you are aged 45 or older, you should have your triglycerides checked regularly.

ARE YOU AT RISK? — Are you at risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease? Use our Risk Checker to find out.

What causes high triglycerides

Overeating, especially foods high in fat and kilojoules, and lack of exercise are common causes of high triglycerides. Other causes include:

High triglycerides treatment

Ask your doctor what your triglyceride levels should be. If your triglycerides are high, talk with your doctor about what to do.

Things you can do to reduce your triglyceride levels include:

  • talking with your doctor about your triglyceride and cholesterol levels
  • eating fresh foods, including a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, plain meat, poultry and fish, unflavoured reduced fat dairy and plain unsalted nuts and legumes. Choose healthier oils for cooking and use avocado, nut butters or tahini instead of butter
  • losing weight if you are overweight or obese
  • exercising regularly, if you are not doing so already
  • cutting back on alcohol, if you drink
  • reducing sugary drinks and refined starchy foods, such as foods made from white flour

A healthy lifestyle is important. Some people also take cholesterol-lowering medication if they have low levels of HDL and high levels of LDL cholesterol.

For more information, call the Heart Foundation's Health Information Service on 1300 36 27 87.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2020


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Cholesterol

Cholesterol People with diabetes generally have similar total cholesterol levels and similar rates of the 'good' (HDL) cholesterol as the general population

Read more on Diabetes Australia website

Familial hypercholesterolaemia - myDr.com.au

Familial hypercholesterolaemia is an inherited (genetic) condition in which affected members of a family have high levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in their blood.

Read more on myDr website

The ins and outs of cholesterol » Dietitians Australia

Medical The ins and outs of cholesterol The ins and outs of cholesterol High levels of the wrong kinds of cholesterol in the blood may increase the risk of developing heart disease

Read more on Dietitians Association of Australia website

Diabetes - long-term effects - Better Health Channel

The risk of most diabetes-related complications can be reduced.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Metabolic syndrome - myDr.com.au

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Lifestyle changes are the first step in its treatment.

Read more on myDr website

Medicines & type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes may be treated with drugs such as metformin, sulfonylureas & insulin. Read about diabetes medicines & how to manage them.

Read more on NPS MedicineWise website

What is Metabolic Syndrome? » Dietitians Australia

Medical What is Metabolic Syndrome? What is Metabolic Syndrome? Metabolic syndrome (also called syndrome X) is the name for a group of risk factors related to heart disease and type 2 diabetes

Read more on Dietitians Association of Australia website

Pre-diabetes

Pre-diabetes Pre-diabetes describes a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, although not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

Read more on Diabetes Australia website

Glossary - Glycemic Index Foundation

A glossary of terms related to the Glycemic Index, blood glucose management and common health related conditions.

Read more on Glycemic Index Foundation website

Acitretin Anti-inflammatory

Acitretin is an oral retinoid (derived from vitamin A) that has effects on growth of skin cells and is anti-inflammatory.

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo