Why this test?
- To assess the risk of developing atherosclerosis and problems with the heart and blood vessels. Atherosclerosis is the process of plaque growth inside blood vessels, which can limit blood flow or completely block the vessel lumen.
- To control the effectiveness of a diet with a reduced amount of animal fats and monitor the level of blood lipids after prescribing drugs that reduce the level of triglycerides and cholesterol (cholesterol).
In what cases is it prescribed?
- Together with a test for total cholesterol or as part of a lipidogram, which also includes determining the level of LDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and the atherogenicity ratio. A lipidogram is recommended for all adults over 20 years old at least once every 5 years.
- During scheduled preventive examinations or more often (several times a year), if a person is offered a diet with a restriction on the intake of animal fats and / or he takes drugs that reduce the level of triglycerides and cholesterol. In these cases, it is checked whether the target level of lipids is reached and, accordingly, the risk of cardiovascular diseases is reduced. It is especially important to check triglycerides in diabetes because fluctuating sugar levels contribute to elevated triglycerides.
- If the patient has one or more risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases: smoking, age (men over 45, women over 55), high blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg and higher), high cholesterol or cardiovascular diseases in other family members (infarction or stroke in the closest male relative younger than 55 years or female younger than 65 years), coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction or stroke, diabetes, excess body weight, alcohol abuse, intake of large amounts of food containing animal fats, low physical activity.
- If a child in the family had cases of high cholesterol or heart disease at a young age, it is recommended to take a cholesterol test for the first time at the age of 2 to 10 years.
Triglycerides are fats that are the main source of body energy.
Most of the triglycerides are contained in adipose tissue, but some of them are in blood, providing the muscles with energy. After eating, the level of triglycerides rises, as the body converts energy, which is not currently needed, into fat.
Triglycerides are absorbed in the intestines and, being transported through the blood, are stored in adipose tissue as a reserve.
They are burned between meals, releasing energy for the body. Since triglycerides are insoluble in water, they are carried in the blood with protein in the form of a complex called lipoprotein. There are several types of lipoproteins, which differ in the proportions of the component composition: very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Most triglycerides in the body are carried by very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL).
An increase in the number of triglycerides increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, although their causes are not fully understood. There are a number of factors that contribute to this: reduced physical activity, excess body weight, smoking, alcohol abuse, and diabetes. In addition, triglycerides significantly increase the risk of developing acute inflammation of the pancreas - acute pancreatitis.