You have often heard from your doctor, “Your triglycerides are high.” What does this mean and what are triglycerides? Like cholesterol, triglycerides are a fat found in your blood. Cholesterol is needed to build cells and triglycerides are used for energy. Sounds like both are actually good for you, but if cholesterol and triglycerides go beyond their normal levels, there will be health problems.
You can diet and exercise at least thirty minutes per day to keep these in two fatty contents in check. However if your new diet and exercise plans fail to lower either cholesterol or triglycerides you will need medications to give your body a boost.
Types of Medications
Gemfibrozil is less expensive than fenofibrate but it is not considered to be as effective. Fenofibrate is also a very convenient drug since it is only a once a day dosage in comparison to the twice a day dose of gemfibrozil.
According to the American Heart Association fibrates can bring up HDL or good cholesterol levels slightly, but unfortunately they are not very valuable when lowering bad cholesterol (LDL). If you have been prescribed fibrates you will also be prescribed statins. Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs the American Heart Association states are the best medications for decreasing LDL cholesterol.
You can also be prescribed niacin or nicotonic acid. This is an all-around medication for all types of cholesterol. It lowers LDL and triglycerides and raises HDL or the good cholesterols. Niacin does not work as efficiently in decreasing high triglycerides as fibrates and must be used in combination with triglyceride medications.
When prescribed niacin, you can take the supplements found over the counter or the prescription Niaspan. Niacin as an over the counter preparation must be closely monitored when taken in higher doses or doses over 500 mg. Niacin has the side effects of hot flashes and can cause liver damage or increased sugar levels.
The prescription form of niacin or Niaspan is a bit pricey, but it has fewer side effects than over the counter niacin preparations. Either type of medication must be taken under the watchful eye of your doctor.
Statins and cholesterol absorption inhibitors are the best combinations for treating high LDL levels. They do have a slight effect on triglyceride levels. Statins work for those with mildly elevated triglycerides.
For triglycerides take the fibrate medications as prescribed by your doctor. You will find that your levels do decease. Still, the best method is to change your diet to a less fatty and sugary diet and exercise a minimum of thirty minutes a day. Diet and exercise are the best prescriptions to lower high triglycerides.