Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and reducing (or stopping) alcohol consumption, are common ways to decrease triglycerides. If high triglyceride levels are the result of another condition that is not being treated, such as diabetes, treatment may focus on getting such health issues under control. Medications used for lowering triglycerides include nicotinic acid, statins, and fibrates.
When results of a lipid panel (or other tests that measure triglycerides) show high levels, your healthcare provider will first make sure that you fasted prior to the test, since triglyceride levels increase after a meal. Your healthcare provider may also recommend that you be retested. If the second fasting test also comes back high, your healthcare provider will consider several factors before recommending treatment for lowering triglycerides. Some of these factors include a person's:
- Triglyceride level
- HDL level
- Daily alcohol usage
- Other medical conditions
- Current medications.
The main goal of treatment is to lower your levels enough to reduce your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. For people with high triglycerides and low HDL, treatment will be more aggressive; both of these factors significantly increase a person's chance for developing heart disease.
Depending on a person's particular situation, options for lowering triglycerides can include:
- Getting medical conditions under control
- Switching medications that are known to cause high triglycerides.
Lifestyle changes may also be recommended. These can include:
- Losing weight
- Changing your diet
- Reducing or stopping the use of alcohol
People with high triglycerides also tend to respond well to a fish or fish oil diet. For most people, these steps will lower triglycerides to a normal level. If these steps are not effective, your healthcare provider may recommend medications.