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Hypertriglyceridemia is a medical condition that causes people to develop abnormally high levels of triglycerides in their blood. Doctors may recommend hypertriglyceridemia treatment that includes statin drugs, niacin supplementation or fish oil supplementation. Some people with the condition have high blood levels of total cholesterol in addition to high blood triglyceride levels.
Statins are prescription drugs that doctors often prescribe to patients with high blood levels of total cholesterol. In many cases, individuals with high triglycerides combined with high cholesterol experience a reduction in their triglyceride levels from statin hypertriglyceridemia treatment. Commonly used statin drugs include atorvastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin. Some statin users can develop an increase of enzyme levels in the liver. Doctors often monitor statin patients for side effects, such as changes in liver functioning and muscle pain.
Patients with hypertriglyceridemia may treat the condition with niacin supplementation. Niacin, or nicotinic acid, is generally sold as a dietary supplement and may be purchased over the counter in many drug stores and health food stores. Physicians may prescribe high doses of niacin that can be obtained with a prescription from a pharmacy. Some users of niacin have noticed flushing of the skin after they consumed this supplement. Extended release niacin formulas may reduce this effect.
Doctors may recommend that patients with high blood levels of triglycerides take fish oil dietary supplements as a hypertriglyceridemia treatment. Fish oil supplements usually contain two essential fatty acids that typically reduce blood levels of triglycerides. These fatty acids are docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA. Fish oil may cause mild upset stomach or a fishy aftertaste.
Fibrate drugs, such as gemfibrozil and fenofibrate, can significantly reduce blood triglyceride levels in some patients. Physicians often prescribe a combination of a statin drug and a fibrate drug to treat hypertriglyceridemia. Individuals with high triglycerides as well as coronary heart disease and diabetes may receive a prescription for fibrate drugs to slow the progression of heart-related complications.
People may develop high blood levels of triglycerides due to lifestyle factors such as obesity, lack of exercise and tobacco use. Diseases such as hypothyroidism, kidney disease and diabetes can increase the risk for development of high triglyceride levels. Physicians typically use a blood test to measure blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
Some individuals with a family history of high blood triglyceride levels have a medical condition known as familial hypertriglyceridemia. People with this condition may receive triglyceride-reducing drugs such as fibrates for hypertriglyceridemia treatment. In some cases, doctors may advise familial hypertriglyceridemia patients to avoid high levels of saturated fats in their diets and refrain from consuming alcohol.