Triglycerides

Medical Specialties: Cardiology, Family practice, Internal medicine


Clinical Definition

Triglycerides are fatty compounds that consist of glycerol and fatty acids. They are synthesized from foods digested and circulate in the bloodstream as a cellular energy source. Excess triglycerides are stored in the adipose tissue of the body. If hypertriglyceridemia is present, it can lead to an increased risk of coronary artery disease. 


In Our Own Words

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the body. After food is eaten and digested, the fats are converted into triglycerides. The liver also makes triglycerides, some of which is turned into cholesterol. Triglycerides are deposited into the bloodstream and used for energy by the cells. What is not used is stored in the fat tissue of the body.

 

Everybody has triglycerides, but excessive levels can increase a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke and other problems. High triglycerides frequently occur as part of the metabolic syndrome along with type 2 diabetes. Extremely high triglyceride levels also put a person at an increased risk for pancreatitis. If triglycerides are only moderately high, exercise and reducing saturated fats in your diet may be able to get things under control.

Relevant Conditions
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sources
  • America Heart Association. “Triglycerides.” Updated October 2012. http://www.heart.org. Accessed September 2013.
  • Columbia University. “Triglycerides.” http://www.cumc.columbia.edu. Accessed September 2013.
  • America Heart Association. “Triglycerides.” Updated October 2012. http://www.heart.org. Accessed September 2013.
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