Triglycerides (TGs) are a combination of three fatty acids and one glycerol molecule. Much of the fatty acids used in various metabolic processes come from dietary sources. However, the body also generates fatty acids, from available glucose and amino acids, that are converted into glycogen or stored energy by the liver. Beyond triglyceride, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol values, other important risk factors must be considered.
Triglyceride levels vary by age, gender, weight, and race:
• Levels increase with age.
Levels are higher in men than in women (among women, those who take oral contraceptives have levels that are 20 to 40 mg/dL higher than those who do not).
• Levels are higher in overweight and obese people than in those with normal weight.
Levels in African Americans are approximately 10 to 20 mg/dL lower than in whites.
SYNONYM/ACRONYM: Trigs, TG.
COMMON USE: To evaluate triglyceride levels to assess cardiovascular disease risk and evaluate the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.
SPECIMEN: Serum (1 mL) collected in a gold-, red-, or red/gray-top tube. Plasma (1 mL) collected in a green-top (heparin) tube is also acceptable.
NORMAL FINDINGS: (Method: Spectrophotometry)
Triglycerides Lab Values are related to age, sex, and diet:
• Normal 1.70 mmol/L
• Borderline: 150–199 mg/dL or 1.70–2.25 mmol/L
• High: 200–499 mg/dL or 2.26–5.64 mmol/L
• Very high: >_500 mg/dL or >_5.65 mmol/L