Triglycerides, what the body converts unused calories into, are stored in fat cells and released when the body needs energy. According to the American Heart Association, a normal triglyceride reading is less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
A lipid panel is used to check triglyceride levels. The same test used to check cholesterol levels, it requires blood to be drawn after a nine to 12 hour fast.
Guidelines for Triglyceride Levels
The National Cholesterol Education Program issued a set of parameters for evaluating triglyceride levels based on a fasting test: normal is less than 150 mg/dL, borderline is 150-199 mg/dL, high is 200-499 mg/dL and very high is 550 mg/dL or higher.
Dangers of High Triglycerides
High triglyceride levels are dangerous because they increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease by promoting atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries.
Causes of High Triglyceride Levels
High triglycerides can result from obesity, a combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol, uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, low thyroid hormone levels, and liver or kidney disease.
Maintaining Healthy Triglyceride Levels
Some ways to maintain healthy triglyceride levels include maintaining a healthy body weight and caloric intake; choosing foods low in refined sugar, cholesterol and trans fat; eliminating alcohol, and getting plenty of exercise.