What causes sHTG?

In most people, severe hypertriglyceridemia (sHTG) has more than one cause, including:1

  • Diet and lifestyle
  • Other medical conditions
  • Certain medications
  • Genetics

The causes and treatment of sHTG can differ from one person to another.

Lifestyle 1

  • A high-calorie diet that is high in fat, sugar, and simple carbohydrates (such as starch)
  • Excessive consumption of sugared beverages, such as soda, juice, and sports drinks
  • Too much alcohol
  • Not enough exercise

Medical conditions 1,3,11

  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Poorly controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Insulin resistance
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Kidney disease
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • HIV
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Lipodystrophy
  • Glycogen storage disease

Medications

Some medications may increase triglyceride levels. Before making changes to medications, talk to your doctor or healthcare team. They can review what you take and make recommendations.

Common medications that may increase triglyceride levels include: 1,3,11

  • Some water pills (thiazide diuretics)
  • Beta-blockers
  • Estrogen (birth control pills, hormone therapy)
  • Isotretinoin for acne
  • Corticosteroids for conditions such as asthma and arthritis
  • Certain drugs (bile acid sequestrants)
  • Protease inhibitors for HIV
  • Some immune suppressants (such as sirolimus)
  • Some antipsychotics (mental health medications)

Genetics

You inherit genes made of DNA from your biological parents. These genes give instructions to your cells for making proteins.

Since many proteins influence how the body makes, transports, and stores triglycerides, variations in genes affect these proteins, causing elevated triglyceride levels in the blood. 1

In many people with sHTG, genetics may partly explain why they have high triglyceride levels. But even if your genes put you at high risk for sHTG, changes in diet, lifestyle, medications, and medical conditions may help to keep triglyceride levels low. 1

Read more about genetics and genetic testing.

Show References
 
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