What are the risks of having high triglyceride levels?
High levels of triglycerides can have serious effects on your heart health and are a risk factor for heart disease. They are usually found in conjunction with other risk factors, such as high cholesterol and diabetes. Therefore, it is hard to uncouple the effects and say exactly what impact high triglycerides have on their own, although they have been shown to have a causal role in coronary artery disease (CAD).
High triglyceride levels may contribute to atherosclerosis, the narrowing of artery walls caused by a buildup of plaque (a substance made of fats, cholesterol, calcium and other materials). This makes it difficult for blood to flow properly, and increases your risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease.
High triglycerides are said to serve as a biomarker, because, due to their associations with risk factors that are known to cause heart disease, triglyceride levels are useful for predicting your likelihood of developing heart disease. People with high triglyceride levels have a four-fold increase in the likelihood of suffering a stroke or heart attack.
High triglyceride levels can be a sign of metabolic syndrome. This is the medical term for a combination of risk factors, including diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity that increase your likelihood of developing heart disease or stroke.
Very high levels of triglycerides can cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which can lead to permanent organ damage.
High level of fats, including triglycerides, in your blood can cause fatty liver. This is where excess fats are stored in the liver tissue. With lifestyle changes, this is condition is usually reversible and doesn’t cause permanent damage.