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Diet and exercise can make a big dent in triglycerides

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Eating food with healthier fats and getting plenty of exercise are the keys to improving cholesterol test results, particularly when it comes to triglycerides, according to a new statement from the American Heart Association.

High triglycerides can be a dangerous situation. It has been known to increase a person's risk of heart attack and stroke. However, the report's authors said that triglyceride levels are largely modifiable and improvements can be made much more easily than with LDL, or "bad" cholesterol.

The report indicates that improvements in diet and exercise can result in a 20 to 50 percent drop in triglyceride levels. This is significant compared to the limited gains that can be made in other areas of cholesterol.

"The good news is that high triglycerides can, in large part, be reduced through major lifestyle changes," said Michael Miller, who chaired the committee that authored the paper. "High triglycerides are often quite responsive to lifestyle measures that include weight loss if overweight, changes in diet and regular physical activity."

The conclusions drawn in the paper were the result of an examination of more than 500 pervious clinical trials into the effect of diet and exercise on cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

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