High Triglycerides

Triglycerides are a form of fat in the body. High levels can result in coronary artery disease and stroke.

Causes may include:

  • Excess triglyceride production in the body from consuming more calories than the body needs
  • Excess ingestion of triglycerides from food sources
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver disease

Are You at Risk?

Factors that may increase your risk of high triglycerides include:

  • Increased age
  • Male gender
  • A family history of hyperlipidemia
  • A diet high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol
  • Postmenopause in women
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Excess alcohol intake
  • Certain conditions, such as diabetes, low thyroid or Cushing's syndrome
  • Certain medications, such as birth control pills or acne medication

Symptoms of High Triglycerides

High triglyceride levels usually don't cause symptoms. Very high levels of triglycerides can cause:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting associated with acute pancreatitis

Elevated triglyceride levels can increase your risk of atherosclerosisa dangerous hardening of the arteries that can block blood flow. In some cases, this may result in:

Diagnosis & Treatment at UVA 

At UVA, we can diagnose you through blood tests that measure the levels of triglycerides in your blood. This may be done as part of a lipid panel blood test which includes:

  • Total cholesterol
  • LDL (bad cholesterol)
  • HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Triglycerides

The National Cholesterol Education Program advises that you have your lipids checked at least once every five years, starting at age 20.

You may need more frequent or earlier testing if you have a family history of hyperlipidemia or risk factors that may cause hyperlipidemia.

At UVA, we aim to provide treatment that lowers you triglyceride levels, as well as your overall risk for heart disease and stroke. We offer the following treatment options.

Diet Changes

  • Eat a diet low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Reduce or eliminate the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • Eat more high-fiber foods.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Exercise regularly. 
  • Manage and control other medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.


Medication, such as statins, can help lower your risk for heart disease and reduce your chances for heart attacks and stroke. Medication is best used as an addition to diet and exercise.


Call us at 434.243.1000.


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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