Marla Ahlgrimm on the Importance of Understanding Triglyceride Levels

Marla AhlgrimmMarla Ahlgrimm, pharmacist and women’s health expert, encourages women to fully understand what is called a “lipid profile.” This routine blood test is most often used to test cholesterol levels, but also contains some important information that women often miss, says Marla Ahlgrimm. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, understanding triglycerides and how levels in the body can affect women’s health is essential. In the following Q&A, Marla Ahlgrimm provides an overview of triglycerides.

Q: What are triglycerides?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. They provide the body with energy and also store fat.

Q: How are triglyceride levels tested?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Triglycerides are tested at the same time a blood test is done for measuring cholesterol levels. To determine cholesterol levels, good cholesterol (HDL), bad cholesterol (LDL), and triglycerides are all used in the calculation.

Q: Why is it important to understand triglycerides?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Elevated triglycerides have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Q: What affects triglyceride levels?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Food choices, activity level, stress, medications and age can impact triglyceride levels.

Q: How can food lower triglyceride levels?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes lean proteins, leafy greens, and good fats, like omega-3, keep triglycerides in check. Many experts also advise eating limited amounts of pasta, bread, potatoes and cereal each week.

Q: How does exercise impact triglycerides?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Regular exercise actually keeps triglycerides from collecting in the blood and building up to cause problems.

Q: What can women do to lower stress and impact triglycerides?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Slow down! Lighten the load by getting help with cleaning or cooking. Meditate.

Q: What are some other options for lowering triglycerides?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are supplements on the market that may improve levels, such as fish oil.

Q: Why should women approaching menopause be particularly concerned with triglycerides?

Marla Ahlgrimm: First, women need to understand that triglyceride levels naturally increase with age, so they shouldn’t be overly concerned as the number ticks upward after menopause. But, women should be concerned if the level ever goes above 200 mg/dl.

Q: Are there special considerations for women with hormone imbalances?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Hormones impact triglycerides, so if a woman is considering hormone replacement therapy to address the symptoms of menopause, she should be aware of how prescription hormone therapy may influence triglyceride levels. For example, a transdermal form of estrogen may be the best option for someone with a higher level.

Q: Where can women learn more about triglycerides?

Marla AhlgrimmTalk to a healthcare provider who specializes in women’s health issues.

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