Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
(603) 742-5252
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Physicians
Health Library
Back to Health Library   Print This Page Print    Email to a Friend Email

Blood test
Blood test


Definition:

The triglyceride level is a laboratory test to measure the amount of triglycerides in your blood. Triglycerides are a type of fat.

Your body makes some triglycerides. Triglycerides also come from the food you eat. When you eat, your body uses calories for immediate energy. Leftover calories are turned into triglycerides and stored in fat cells for later use. If you eat more calories than your body needs, your triglyceride level may be high.

See also:



Alternative Names:

Triacylglycerol test



How the test is performed:

Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.

Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm.

Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.



How to prepare for the test:

You should not eat for 8 to 12 hours before the test.

Alcohol and certain drugs may affect test results. Make sure your doctor knows what medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Your doctor may tell you to temporarily stop taking certain medicines. Never stop taking any medicine without first talking to your doctor.

Drugs that can increase triglyceride measurements include beta blockers, cholestyramine, estrogens, protease inhibitors, retinoids, certain antipsychotics, and birth control pills.

Drugs that can decrease triglyceride measurements include ascorbic acid, asparaginase, clofibrate, fenofibrate, fish oil, gemfibrozil, nicotinic acid, and statin medications.



How the test will feel:

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.



Why the test is performed:

This test is often done to determine your risk of developing heart disease. A high triglyceride level may lead to atherosclerosis , which increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. A high triglyceride level may also cause inflammation of your pancreas.

Persons with high triglycerides often have other conditions such as diabetes and obesity that also increase the chances of developing heart disease.

The triglyceride level is usually included in a coronary risk (lipid) profile .



Normal Values:
  • Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL
  • Borderline High: 150 - 199 mg/dL
  • High: 200 - 499 mg/dL
  • Very High: 500 mg/dL or above


What abnormal results mean:

High triglyceride levels may be due to:

Low triglyceride levels may be due to:

Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:



What the risks are:

Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another, and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others. Other risks may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)


Special considerations:

Pregnancy can interfere with test results.



References:

Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults. Executive summary of the third report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) expert panel on detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood cholesterol in adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). JAMA. 2001;285(19):2486-2497.

Implications of recent clinical trials for the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines. Circulation. 2004 Jul 13; 110(2):227-39.

Semenkovich CF. Disorders of lipid metabolism. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 217.




Review Date: 5/2/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Find What You Need

Events
Careers
Foundation
About Us
Contact
Directions
News
Social Media Agreement
Joint Notice
Web Privacy Policy
WDH Staff Portal

Centers & Services

Cancer Center
Cardiovascular Care
Joint Replacement
Women & Children's
Physician Offices
Other Services

Conditions & Treatments

Health Library

Support Services

Support Groups
Care-Van
Dental Center
Social Work
Food & Nutrition
Integrative Wellness
Spiritual Care
Concerns & Grievances
Homecare and Hospice

For Patients

Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Interpreter Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Record Request
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials

For Healthcare Professionals

Work and Life
Financial Well-Being
Career and Growth

The Wentworth-Douglass Health System includes:

 

Address

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100