Information on Preparation For a Triglyceride Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What are Triglycerides?

Triglycerides are basically a form of fat that the body uses to store energy. Under normal circumstances, they are found in very minor quantities in the blood stream. A triglyceride test is used to estimate the risk of developing a heart disease and to identify an existing liver disease. The test is done as a part of the lipid profile test. In most cases, the results of a cholesterol test also contain the values of triglycerides in the blood. A high triglyceride value means that the individual is at a higher risk of developing heart disease. It also indicates that the liver may be malfunctioning.

The lipid profile test gives values of the LDL, HDL, and triglycerides in the blood. A high LDL value along with a high triglyceride value indicates a greater risk of developing heart disease as compared to just having a high LDL value.

Preparation Required for a Triglyceride Test

A triglyceride test is a blood test and may involve some amount of preparation. The most common instructions that are given to an individual preparing for this test are

  • Avoid drinking or eating anything at least 12 hours before the test.
  • Avoid eating a diet that is high in fat on the night before the test.
  • Do not drink alcohol before the test.

Triglycerides are measured in mg/Dl, and following are the values that can be expected from the test:

  • Less than 150 mg/DL is considered to be normal.
  • 150 - 199 mg/Dl is borderline high.
  • 200 - 499 mg/Dl is high.
  • 500 mg/Dl or more if considered being very high.

The value of triglycerides may be high due to cirrhosis, a diet that is low in proteins and high in carbohydrates, familial hyperlipoproteinemia, hypothyroidism, nephrotic syndrome, pancreatitis, and diabetes. The values may be low due to a diet that is low in fat, hyperthyroidism, malabsorption, and malnutrition.

It is important to know that high triglycerides and liver disease have a close association. Liver disease can occur due to factors such as alcoholism, malnutrition, pregnancy, poisoning, diabetes, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, and lupus. Any of these diseases can cause the liver to store more fat, resulting in a condition called fatty liver. Triglycerides are also a fat that can get stored in the liver due to any of these conditions, thus increasing the value of triglycerides in the blood.

The values of triglycerides can be very high for approximately 4 to 5 hours after eating a meal. It is thus very important to ensure that fasting is maintained before the test for the results to be accurate.

A regular lipid profile test that measures the LDL and HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels can be very vital towards maintaining good health.