The Foundation of the National Lipid Association (FNLA) wants America to know that one-third of adults have an elevated triglyceride number.

The number in question is a key piece of an entire lipid profile, which measures blood fats (lipids). The management of triglycerides, a component of cholesterol management, is a key to preventing serious health complications such as pancreatitis.

Throughout the month of September, which is known as National Cholesterol Education Month, patients are encouraged to ask questions to better interpret and manage their triglyceride number during visits with healthcare providers.

A majority of Americans do not understand the role lipids play in heart health. An integral function of lipid control is management of triglycerides—a form of fat that circulates in blood and provides energy. Despite its importance, many people do not understand the need to keep triglycerides in balance—and the importance of keeping their “number” in a healthy range.

“It’s always a good time to ask your healthcare provider about your numbers. We’ve aligned with National Cholesterol Education Month because it brings lipid management to the forefront and allows us to highlight the great educational resources available to patients and providers throughout the month,” said president of the FNLA, Anne C. Goldberg, MD.

A lack of lipid control can lead to heart disease, the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States. High triglyceride levels are another consequence of a lipid breakdown. Patients with elevated triglycerides (>200 mg/dL) are at risk. High triglycerides can be caused by:

>>Diet high in fat, certain carbohydrates, or sugar
>>Too much alcohol
>>Not enough exercise
>>Being overweight
>>Certain medical conditions (e.g., high blood sugar)

In a recent survey of healthcare providers, the National Lipid Association (NLA) discovered the need for standard protocols to remind practitioners to measure and help patients manage their total lipid profile, including triglycerides. The survey also found that healthcare providers would welcome patient education tools to help consumers understand the importance of triglycerides and preferred ways to keep their number low.

“We all have a lot of important numbers to know and understand when it comes to keeping our bodies healthy, but this number could unsuspectingly affect your quality of life,” said Dr. Goldberg. “Fortunately, managing triglycerides is something many patients can do on their own without medication, simply by increasing their exercise and modifying their diet.”

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