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Are Trigycerides and Thyroid function related?

Posted by cam5759

My triglycerides are high and my thyroid blood test number was 4.021.  Is the thyroid the cause of my inabilty to lower my triglceride number?
Answers (2)
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Triglycerides are just one component of your lipids or cholesterol panel, the others being total cholesterol, LDL (bad) & HDL (good).  Ideally, we like to aim for Triglycerides less than 150mg/dL.  However, we don't usually recommend medication until you're greater than 500mg/dL (and then only to theoretically prevent pancreatitis).  Therefore, there's a huge range in between where we encourage you to focus on your nutrition & physical activity. 


Triglycerides are falsely elevated if you're not fasting (which is why you're typically told to fast prior to your blood draw).  Triglycerides are truly elevated in those with central/abdominal obesity, eg waist >40" in men or >35" in women.  This is the dangerous fat, surrounding your internal organs, as opposed to the relatively more benign stuff under the skin.  Liposuction only affects the latter, not the former.  The former can also lead to a condition called (non-alcoholic) fatty liver disease whereby your liver is irritated because it's overly crowded by fat.


So where does your thyroid fit in?  Well, if your thyroid is underactive (as indicated by a high thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), then it can be difficult to lose enough weight & fat to control your triglycerides (and other cholesterol numbers).  Labs vary in what they consider the normal range but typically most will report it as 0.45-4.5.  Some allow as high as 5.5 to be normal while others will consider normal all the way down to 0.3.  What's important is that you & your physician use your lab's reference range.  With that said, it's difficult for me to interpret your 4.021 as high (assuming that your referring to TSH) and thus blame your triglycerides on your thyroid.


However, let's not forget that for some labs, it's all relative and that 0.45 to 4.5 is a 10x difference.  Some folks like it (feel better) when their TSH is lower within the reference range so perhaps your used to be lower and you're feeling hypothyroid because it's now higher even though it's still normal.  That's a mighty big perhaps.  More worrisome is that recent studies (I've written about this on my blog) show that treating hypothyoidism to lower TSH numbers in the elderly can increase their risk of osteoporotic fracture (and atrial fibrillation).   So becareful what you wish. 


Chat w/your family physician about this.  Enlist the help of a nutritionist & physical therapist to improve your lifestyle.  And as I wrote yesterday in my blog, the latest study shows you only need to exercise just 15min/d to lower your risk of death from any case.  Good luck!

That was an unexpected great response.  I am new to the site. I am actually jumping through hoops with my diet ie., pastured meat and eggs, organic fruits and veggies, fish oil now up to 2,000g/day and slo-niacin soon to be 1,000g/night.  Carbs are down to 100-150g/day. I am having some success in improving my cholesterol numbers, and my triglcerides are down to 300 from 900.  My doctor is concerned about my glucose levels too, he cites them as beingin the pre-diabetic range.  I need to add that 15 minutes of elliptical that you mentioned(exercise) for sure, and get back to lifting heavy things more often.  I'll check out your blog(s) for reference.  Thanks again. cmw
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