What Triglycerides Range Is Most Likely to Cause Heart Disease?

...And what triglycerides range is optimal for health and longevity? Most people don’t know. Learn more here.

triglycerides range

More than a third of Americans’ levels fall within an unsafe triglycerides range.

Cholesterol may get the most attention, but a large body of evidence indicates that an unsafe triglycerides range is also an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In fact, recent studies show that high triglycerides are directly and significantly associated with cardiovascular death, cardiovascular “events” (any incidents that may cause damage to the heart muscle), and heart attacks.[1]

Furthermore, a massive DNA study recently showed for the first time that triglycerides are not just associated with cardiovascular disease, they actually cause it.[2] For these reasons, both patients and doctors are paying more attention to these fats and identifying the triglycerides range most likely to cause cardiovascular disease. Pro-active, health-conscious individuals are also searching for information about what is likely to be the ideal triglycerides range for health and longevity.

Triglycerides Basics

Triglycerides are fats that are either made by the liver or ingested by the liver from the diet. From the liver, they are then transported throughout the circulation and used by tissues as fuel or deposited for storage. High triglyceride levels are often caused or exacerbated by uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, obesity, and sedentary habits. Too much alcohol and/or simple carbohydrates, like sugar, are notorious for raising triglyceride levels. Elevated triglycerides increase your risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in men and women.

What Is a Good Triglyceride Level?

Triglycerides are typically measured as part of a standard lipid panel which measures blood levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol along with triglycerides. Your triglycerides level range is usually analyzed after 10 to 12 hours of fasting. In the fasting state, triglyceride range is classified as follows:[3]

  • Normal triglyceride range: less than 150 mg/dL
  • Borderline-high triglyceride range: 150-199 mg/dL
  • High triglyceride range: 200-499mg/dL
  • Very high triglyceride range: greater than 500 mg/dL

Unsafe Triglycerides Range? It Affects One-Third of Americans

Many doctors and researchers consider fasting triglyceride levels over 150 to be abnormally high, despite the official classification system listed above in which triglyceride levels within the range of 150-199 are considered “borderline-high.”[1] This is because even “borderline-high” triglyceride levels are associated with higher amounts of atherosclerosis, causing particles in the bloodstream, belly fat, insulin resistance, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.[4]

The optimal fasting triglycerides range may be less than 100 mg/dL, according to a consensus scientific statement from the American Heart Association.[4] Indeed, most integrative doctors and naturopathic physicians who are working to help patients optimize their health and longevity aim for a fasting triglyceride level below 100.

Unfortunately, far too many Americans fall into the “borderline-high” to “high” triglycerides range. Studies show that 33 percent of adults in the United States have triglyceride levels over 150 mg/dl, and more than 50 percent of those have levels exceeding 200 mg/dl.[5]

Getting on Track: Striving for a Better Triglycerides Range

For many, increasing physical activity can go a long way in getting to an ideal trigylceride level. If you’ve been sedentary, start with a walking routine (see our post “The Benefits of Walking”). Cutting back on sugars, refined grains, and alcohol also can help get you to an improved triglyceride level.

For others, a more comprehensive and strategic treatment plan is necessary to bring stubborn triglycerides into the optimal range. This can be done using natural medicines combined with specific lifestyle changes.

To read about a number of simple ways to reduce your triglycerides, read this article. Also, check out these blogs for more tips on how to achieve ideal triglyceride levels:

Share Your Experiences With Your Triglycerides Range

How you lowered your triglycerides naturally? Tell us about it in the Comments section below.

Originally published in 2014, this post is regularly updated.

As a service to our readers, University Health News offers a vast archive of free digital content. Please note the date published or last update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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Kathleen Jade, ND

Dr. Kathleen Jade is a naturopathic physician and served for many years as the Medical Director and Editor-In-Chief of Natural Health Advisory Institute. She has been licensed as a primary … Read More

View all posts by Kathleen Jade, ND

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  • My triglycerides were 450 and my total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and Non HDL cholesterol were sky high at TC= 324, LDL-C = 231, and Non HDL-C=262. My apoB was also sky high at 158. I then took extra-strength fish oil 2000mg daily with 1400mg combined EPA & DHA. My triglycerides quickly went down to 188. However, this nothing for my cholesterol or apoB. I then began Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s ‘The End of Heart Disease’ diet. After 8 weeks my triglycerides dropped to 107, total cholesterol from 324 to195, LDL cholesterol from 231to126, non HDL cholesterol from 262 to147, and apoB from 158 to 110. My blood pressure decreased to 111/68 ( average over the last 20 days) and my fasting blood glucose decreased from 97 to 73. I no longer have chest pain (which was constant) nor shortness of breath when walking. I now walk 3 miles a day at a fast pace. Because I have auto-inflammatory Behcet’s Disease, I used to get 2 episodes of oral ulcers per month (1 week in between ulcers). I now get ulcers only once per month (which hurt half as badly) and am confident they will soon go away completely since this diet is anti-inflammatory. I am ecstatic!

  • My triglycerides were over 200 as a 35y/o female at 5’7″ and 150 lbs (not overweight). My fasting glucose was also in the prediabetes range at the time (107). I went on a low carb diet and lost about 12 lbs. The next time I had blood work done, my triglycerides were down to 52 (and have stayed well below 100 in the years since) and fasting glucose at 82.

  • My father had heart disease beginning in his 50’s and died in his early 60’s. I am a physician and had known I had high triglycercides- in the 900’s. But the cardiologists in the 70’s and early 80’s were not concerned in San Francisco. And my cholesterol so we’re all normal. I lived a healthy and active life, and was actually jogging in 1988 and had a posterior MI.
    Went to Stanford ( actually by helicopter !!) had angioplasty and discharged. I moved to near San Antonio in the late 90’s and saw a cardiologist who immediately started me on Niacin 300 mg/day with Gemfibrisol, and with in 2 weeks my triglycerides went from over 900 to 60 and stayed there since. My ECG , although abnormal from the earlier MI, has not changed in nearly 30 years and I have been totally asymptomatic and very active. I think the physician in San Antonio saved my life. I am now 82 y/o.
    Although my never had his triglycerides recorded, I would imagine they were high and were the cause of his death and there is a genetic connection.

  • I had hi triglycerides. Totally changed my diet, removed all sugar/carbs,and added healthy fats……dramatic improvement in all blood parameters! Also started walking

  • Hello i was diagnosed with 300 triglycerides im so worried a d scared everyday im taking fish oil now and eating healthy does anyone know how long it takes for a heart attack to happen with high triglycerides?

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