Triglycerides are a kind of fat that the body produces naturally. Some kinds of food also contribute to triglycerides in the body. Increased levels of triglyceride in both adults and children is a potential health hazard.
All of us are familiar with the term ‘cholesterol’ and know that increased levels of this substance in the body is the root cause behind arterial blockage and other heart diseases. But in your blood test report, you must have also noticed a third component named triglycerides. And it must have made you wonder what are triglycerides? Triglycerides are basically a kind of fat found in the blood stream.
The body can produce this fat naturally, and some kinds of foods are also sources of triglycerides and contribute to the triglycerides in the body. An ideal level of triglycerides is essential for the body, as they are a source of energy, and act as a reserve of energy when the body is on a diet.
Deviation in normal triglyceride levels in the blood can pose many health concerns in both adults and children, and thus it is essential for parents to keep a check on the levels of triglyceride in their children too (the ideal level for children is below 150 mg/dL). A high level of triglycerides also indicates that the child is consuming more calories than he needs.
What Leads to High Triglycerides
The below listed factors can lead to high levels of triglyceride in children
- Children are more keen to eat junk food which is a chief source of fat. Consumption of junk food in excess can cause high levels.
- Heredity is also a factor that contributes to high triglycerides. Which means if the parents or someone in the family have high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, the child can also potentially have higher amount of triglycerides.
- Childhood obesity is one of the major factors that leads to increase in triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
- Low exercise frequency is another reason for increase in weight, and thus increase in levels of triglyceride.
|Normal Levels of Triglyceride|
|Less than 150 mg/dL||150 mg/dL – 199 mg/dL||Above 200 mg/dL|
How to Control High Triglycerides
High levels of triglycerides in children is a major health concern and can lead to problems in adulthood. So controlling high triglycerides in childhood is of utmost importance. The following measures would help in lowering triglyceride levels.
- Encourage your child to eat healthy low carbohydrate food which is rich iron, vitamins and essential omega-3 acids. Oats, beans, walnuts, egg whites, almonds, garlic, fruits, etc., are some of the foods that lower triglycerides. Food should be cooked in olive oil or flax seed oil.
- If your child is overweight or obese, make him/her play some sports. The role of parents in a child’s health is huge, and so they should also maintain a healthy lifestyle and set a role model for their child.
- For children who have inherently high triglyceride levels (hyperlipidemia), lifestyle changes often fail to show any improvements, and thus comes the need for medications in the form of statin drugs.
- Level of triglycerides in the body is often detected using a lipid profile or blood test, and the test should be done monthly to find any discrepancies in normal levels of triglycerides.
Triglyceride levels in children is often overlooked by doctors also, and can lead to many health concerns in the future. Therefore it is always better to prevent something when it is not severe.