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Living Well in Yalobusha County

It’s Important To Control Your Triglycerides

The Walk a Weigh Program series is half way over! Last week our lesson focused on fat and how we can control the amount of fat we consume in our diets.  Next week: The CHS Walk a Weigh class will meet on Monday, Feb. 20 at 3:45 p.m. in the High School auditorium.  The First Baptist Church  Walk a Weigh Class will meet on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 5 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Life Center in Coffeeville.  If you are interested in learning more about this program or being added to the list for the next series, please contact me at the Extension Office at 675-2730.

Also remember our Healthy You exercise Classes are free and meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. until 9:45 a.m. Make sure that you wear comfortable clothes.  Due to a scheduling conflict last week, the nurse will be here on Wednesday, February 15 at 8:45 a.m.

Members of the Crochet MHV Club will meet at the Extension office on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 10 a.m.  At noon they will have a potluck lunch. All members are invited to come and bring a dish.  

Sewing for Service  will meet on Monday, Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. at the Extension Office. They have started on a new sewing project: pillowcase dresses for Operation Christmas Child.   

What are Triglycerides?

Triglycerides are a type of fat that can be found in your blood. In fact, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), “Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in your body.” Your body creates triglycerides when you eat more calories than you need to use at that time. This makes your fat cells store the triglycerides until you need energy between meals, at which point certain hormones release the triglycerides into your bloodstream.

Problems arise when you routinely eat more calories than you use.

The Mayo Clinic asserts “If you regularly eat more calories than you burn, particularly ‘easy’ calories like carbohydrates and fats, you may have high triglycerides.”

The AHA expands on this point, maintaining, “Elevated triglycerides can be caused by overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, cigarette smoking, excess alcohol consumption and a diet very high in carbohydrates (more than 60 percent of total calories). “

Having high triglycerides is also called hypertriglyceridemia.

How Can I Tell Whether I Have High Triglycerides?

All you need to test your triglyceride levels is a regular old blood test.

Your doctor will measure how many milligrams (mg) are in a deciliter (dL) of your blood. Your healthcare team will usually test your triglyceride levels at the same time as they do a cholesterol test (a.k.a. a lipid panel) and unfortunately that usually means that you have to fast for 8-12 hours before they can draw blood.

Once you have the results back, your doctor will tell you whether your triglyceride levels are within a normal range. 

What is the Impact of High Triglycerides on Health?

High triglycerides have been linked to a bunch of different heart and health problems. For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, “high triglycerides may contribute to hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls (atherosclerosis) — which increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease.”

The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains that high triglycerides “may raise the risk of coronary artery disease, especially in women.”

High triglyceride levels have been linked to heart disease, and may pose health risks even if your cholesterol levels are normal.

How Can I Lower My Triglyceride Levels?

There are many ways that you can reduce your risk of high triglycerides or lower your levels if you’re starting to develop hypertriglyceridemia. Here are a few of the most highly-recommended…

• Manage Your Weight. Losing weight if you are overweight can have a great impact on your triglyceride levels. Plus, some of the strategies that you can use to get to a lower weight have also been linked to reducing triglyceride levels. For example:

• Consume Fewer Calories. Remember that your body stores excess calories as triglycerides. If you eat fewer extra calories, then you will create fewer triglycerides.

• Reduce the Number of Refined Foods You Eat. This common diet strategy has an especially great impact on triglyceride levels. “

• Exercise. The Mayo Clinic explains, “Regular exercise can lower triglycerides and boost ‘good’ cholesterol.”

• Limit Your Alcohol Consumption. Alcohol has been linked to increased triglyceride levels.

• Replace Saturated Fats with Unsaturated Fats. You may have heard these words of wisdom when it comes to general heart health before, and they’ll stand you in good stead when it comes to triglycerides as well.

• If You Smoke, Quit.

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