What Your Triglyceride Number Means


Linda Wasmer Andrews

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Triglyceride Level

in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)

What It Means for You


Less than 150

You can reduce your risk for future problems with a healthy lifestyle, which includes maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular physical activity, limiting alcohol, not smoking, and eating a healthy diet.

Borderline High

150 to 199

This level is typically due to lifestyle factors. It's generally treated with lifestyle changes. If other diseases (such as diabetes, kidney disease, or an underactive thyroid) or medications (such as beta blockers or corticosteroids) are contributing to the problem, they should be addressed, too.


200 to 499

This level is typically caused by a combination of lifestyle and genetic factors. Many people with high triglycerides also have other risk factors for heart disease, such as a large waistline and insulin resistance, which may lead to diabetes. Lifestyle change is the first-choice treatment. Medications are also sometimes prescribed.

Very High

500 and up

This level is typically caused by a combination of lifestyle and genetic factors. People with very high triglycerides often have type 2 diabetes and other risk factors for heart disease. When triglyceride levels exceed 1,000 mg/dl, there is an increased risk for acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). A very high triglyceride level is generally treated with a combination of lifestyle changes and medication.

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Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Apr 2, 2017

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Medical References

  1. Hypertriglyceridemia. J.D. Brunzell. New England Journal of Medicine, September 6, 2007, vol. 357, no. 10, pp. 1009-1017.
  2. Hypertriglyceridemia: Its Etiology, Effects and Treatment. G. Yuan et al. Canadian Medical Association Journal, April 10, 2007, vol. 176, no. 8, pp. 1113-1120.
  3. Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes: What is metabolic syndrome? National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/insulin-resistance-prediabetes/Pa...
  4. What Your Cholesterol Levels Mean. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/What-Your-Cholesterol-Levels-M...
  5. Tips to Control Your Cholesterol. National Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/healthdisp/pdf/tipsheets/Tips-to-Control-Your-Cholestero...

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