Knowing how often you should have your triglycerides checked is an important step in monitoring your overall health and wellness. In order to catch problems early, it’s good to regularly check on your blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It is also a great way to see if you are on track with your diet and exercise program. Fortunately, one test, the lipid panel, will measure your triglycerides level, your total cholesterol, and your HDL and LDL cholesterol. Some tests may even cover your blood sugar.
If You Don’t Have Heart Disease
If you don’t have heart disease or high cholesterol, you should have your triglycerides level checked at least every 5 years. Establish your baseline by having a lipid panel done in early adulthood, around 18 to 20 years old. Then, if that is normal, the American Heart Association recommends retesting every five years. This should be a fasting test, which means no food or drink except water for 9 to 12 hours.
If You Have A Family History Of Heart Disease
If heart disease, strokes or even diabetes runs in your family, you should have your lipid panel done every two to three years after having a normal lipid panel the first time. But if your lipid panel is on the border, get it rechecked every year. And be sure to make the diet and lifestyle changes you need to in order to improve where you need to, whether it is lowering your triglycerides or total cholesterol or increasing your HDL, or good, cholesterol.
If YOU Have Heart Disease
If you have heart disease, work with your doctor on how often you should have your lipid panel done. Depending on your treatment, you may have your triglycerides and cholesterol checked as often as every two months. Once you are on the right path toward slowing or reversing your heart disease, the frequency of the test may be less often. It doesn’t pay to have your levels checked more than every couple of months, for the most part. Testing more frequently may be done in cases where the levels are dangerously high.
If You Are Post-Menopause
Unfortunately, if you are a woman in menopause, you need to be aware of the fact that you are now at risk for developing increased triglycerides and cholesterol, even if you have never had them before. This is due to the decrease in estrogen that is happening during and after menopause. Get your baseline lipid panel done now if you have not had one. Then, get your levels checked yearly, more often if abnormal.
If You Are Over 40
Aging can bring about multiple changes in your body, as you may feel every morning when you get out of bed! One of those changes is increasing levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. The current recommendation is to have your lipid panel done yearly, again, more often if abnormal.
If You Are Diabetic
If you are a diabetic or have pre-diabetes, or if you are overweight, have your triglycerides checked at least every year. If your triglycerides are above 150 mg/dl, it is best to check more often. Triglycerides, unless you are dealing with genetic issues, respond very nicely to changes in your diet and lifestyle. It can take just a couple of weeks to see an improvement in your triglycerides level if you make the right changes in your health.
Other Factors Affecting Your Triglycerides Level
The frequency of having your triglycerides level checked will definitely depend on your current health status, your age, and your personal and family history. Other factors that can affect the level of your triglycerides include medications. These include some blood pressure meds, Accutane, steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs. In addition, even some drugs that work to lower your cholesterol can increase your triglyceride levels. If you are taking any medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist as to how often you should have your triglycerides level checked.