The definitive connection between high triglycerides and high blood pressure remains unknown. However, as more research is being done on triglycerides, it is being discovered that triglycerides play a larger role in heart disease, heart attacks and strokes than previously thought. And high triglycerides just might be one cause of high blood pressure or hypertension.
It looks like a high level of triglycerides may contribute to atherosclerosis, which is the thickening or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis will lead to high blood pressure. With atherosclerosis, the arteries are not as flexible as they should be so the blood is flowing through them with more pressure. This is what leads to high blood pressure.
High Triglycerides and High Blood Pressure in Metabolic Syndrome
High triglycerides and high blood pressure are two of the five components of metabolic syndrome. The other three are:
- Low HDL cholesterol (the ‘good’ cholesterol)
- High blood sugar
- Too much fat, especially around the waist
All five of these medical conditions together increase your risk of diabetes, strokes and heart disease. Metabolic syndrome is dangerous situation. Fortunately, all of the factors in this syndrome are lifestyle-related and can be corrected with positive and healthy lifestyle changes.
High Triglycerides, High Blood Pressure and Strokes
Even if there is no confirmed connection between high triglycerides and high blood pressure, these two conditions together can put you at a high risk for having a stroke. Recent studies have shown that high triglycerides are, on their own, a strong predictor of the risk of stroke. So, if you put elevated triglycerides together with high blood pressure, which is another major risk factor for stroke, you have an even more serious situation.
If you have both high triglycerides and high blood pressure, it does not necessarily mean that your high blood pressure is due to the high triglycerides. It can mean that your lifestyle is such that you have both of these conditions. Chances are good that you probably have other medical conditions, too, such as high cholesterol and obesity.
Another reason why you could have both high triglycerides and high blood pressure could be medications. Some medications for high blood pressure can trigger an increase in your triglycerides. If you develop high triglycerides while on blood pressure medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if the medication could be the cause.
If you have high triglycerides and high blood pressure, you need to work to lower both of these. Diet and lifestyle changes are very effective in reducing both the triglycerides and the blood pressure to nice, healthy levels. The levels you want to aim for are:
- Triglycerides of 100 mg/dl when fasting
- Blood pressure readings below 120/80
If you are on medications to help lower either your triglycerides or your blood pressure, or both, you still should change your lifestyle in addition to taking the meds. While medications can help to lower your triglycerides or blood pressure, the medications will not correct what caused the problem in the first place. Continuing to live the unhealthy lifestyle that led to your high triglycerides and high blood pressure, even while on medications, will lead to even more diseases and chronic medical conditions.