Heart disease kills more Americans than any other illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you want to lower your risk of heart disease, monitoring your blood pressure and serum triglyceride levels is important. High blood pressure and high triglycerides are indicators that you may have an elevated risk of heart disease.
What Are Triglycerides?
Triglycerides are fats that circulate in your bloodstream and are stored in your fat cells. When you eat more calories than you need to survive, your body converts those calories into triglycerides and stores them for future use. Triglycerides are different from cholesterol. Though both are fats, triglycerides are a form of stored energy, while cholesterol is used in the structure of cells and the synthesis of hormones.
How Do Triglycerides Affect Blood Pressure?
It’s a bit of a mystery how triglycerides affect blood pressure. According to MayoClinic.com, excessive triglyceride levels may contribute to atherosclerosis, a condition commonly referred to as hardening of the arteries, but it’s unknown exactly how this occurs. Explaining how hardening of the arteries affects blood pressure is a simpler matter. When your arteries harden, they lose their elasticity, placing more pressure on the blood that passes through them – the result is higher blood pressure.
What Causes High Triglyceride Levels?
Numerous factors can influence the level of triglycerides in your body. Diet, genetic factors, and alcohol consumption are all complicit in affecting triglyceride levels. Obesity can result in higher levels of triglyceride, as can the use of certain medications, and the existence of underlying diseases such as diabetes, hypothyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome, according to "The New York Times Health Guide."
What To Do About High Blood Pressure and Triglycerides?
Consult your doctor, who can assess your situation and decide whether it is necessary for you to use medications to help your condition. The American Heart Association states that even if you are taking medication for high serum triglyceride levels, you should adopt dietary changes to increase your chances of overcoming this potentially dangerous condition. Losing excess weight, lowering caloric intake, stopping smoking and decreasing your alcohol intake can all help manage your blood pressure and triglyceride levels. A healthy triglyceride level, as determined by a blood test, is considered to be below 150 mg/DL. An optimal blood pressure reading, according to the American Heart Association, is below 120 over 80 mmHg.