First, some good news: Three-quarters of adults are aware of their cholesterol levels, according to a new survey from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
The catch is that a measly 37 percent are clued in to the state of their triglycerides. While this particular blood fat might not get much press, you ought to take it seriously. As many as one in five women in their 30’s already have high triglycerides, and elevated levels (normal is 150 mg/dL or lower) can increase the risk of coronary heart disease –the number-one killer of women. That’s why it’s so important to get screened at least every 5 years, more often if you’re overweight or have a family history of high cholesterol, high triglycerides, or heart disease, says Eliot A. Brinton, M.D., president of the American Board of Clinical Lipidology.
If your doc says you’re in the danger zone, limiting your intake of fat, carbs (especially sugar), and alcohol can help. In some cases, your physician may also prescribe Omega-3 supplements or Rx drugs (fibrates) that lower your body’s production of triglycerides. You should also find out if you need to stop taking other medications; certain types, such as birth control pills, can raise triglycerides.