Having high triglycerides is bad enough, but even more deadly is the combination of high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol. That dangerous duo dramatically raises your risk of a heart attack. Results from a multiyear study of men in Muenster, Germany, in the 1980s showed that only 4 percent had the combination, yet during the study period 25 percent of the heart attacks occurred among men in this group. It wasn’t until 1997 that Dr. J.M. Gaziano and his colleagues at Harvard showed just how predictive of heart disease a high (TG /low HDL) ratio really is. In this study, the participants were divided into four subgroups or quartiles according to ratio of triglycerides to HDL: highest, high middle, low middle, and lowest. The significance of such numbers is staggering. No ratio has ever come close to being so predictive of heart disease. If you are in the highest quartile, with, say, triglycerides of 190 and HDL of 37,having an ideal cholesterol of 300 may indicate very little heart risk. It’s pretty obvious, then that your ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol is critically important to your future heart health. Ideally, you want a ratio below 1:1, with your triglycerides and high HDL mean a low likelihood of heart disease. If your ratio is 2:1, with your triglycerides higher than your HDL, you ‘re on the borderline of normal. Anything higher than 2:1 is beginning to be serious, especially if you re over the 100 mg/dl mark for triglycerides. You’ re asking for heart trouble, trouble that simple dietary changes could help you avoid completely. A low carbohydrate diet, combined with vita-nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids can make high triglycerides plummet by 60 to 80 percent in just a few weeks. Both elevated triglycerides and low levels of HDL come from the overconsumption of refined carbohydrates and are correctable by the restriction of carbohydrates.
Testing for Triglycerides
When you go for your triglyceride blood test, timing is very important. Unlike cholesterol, which isn’t really affected by eating, your triglyceride level can jump sharply after you eat. Schedule your test for first thing in the morning, and don’t eat anything or drink anything other than plain water for ten to twelve hours before.