Triglycerides and Cholesterol


Lt Col Reynolds
To better understand dyslipidemia, it’s important to find out exactly what triglycerides and cholesterol are, as well as where they come from, and what they do. We’ll ask Dr. Patel to shed some light on these.

Dr. Patel
Triglycerides are the chemical form of most of the fat in the foods that you eat. Your body also makes additional triglycerides from the extra calories you consume. The triglycerides are transported to fat cells for storage, and make up about 95 percent of your body’s fatty tissue.

Increased levels of triglycerides can be a consequence of:

  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes or being overweight
  • Taking medications like birth control pills
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Drinking too much alcohol, or
  • Eating large quantities of sugar

To better understand your overall risk, your provider may test your triglyceride level. When blood is drawn to measure your triglyceride level, it’s important to be in a fasting state, without food for at least eight to 12 hours prior to your test. Any small amount of food or sugary liquid will increase your triglycerides, and cause an inaccurate measurement.

High triglyceride levels appear to be associated with a number of different medical conditions, for example, the risk of heart disease and stroke. Extremely elevated triglycerides can place you at an increased risk for an inflammation of the pancreas, an organ responsible for making digestive enzymes and insulin. This condition is known as pancreatitis.

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance that is found throughout your body, including your nervous system, muscles, skin, liver, intestines, and heart. It’s vital to your health for many reasons.


  • Helps repair cell membranes
  • Is used to produce bile, which your body needs to absorb fat from food
  • Helps manufacture vitamin D on your skin’s surface
  • Is involved in hormone production, such as testosterone and estrogen, and
  • Helps build brain connections that are important for memory and learning