How is hypertriglyceridemia (high triglyceride levels) diagnosed?

Updated: Jul 23, 2021
  • Author: Mary Ellen T Sweeney, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Rule out secondary causes of hypertriglyceridemia, including diabetes mellitus (fasting or random glucose levels), hypothyroidism (thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH] levels), chronic renal failure (urinalysis, creatinine, and microalbumin), alcohol abuse, hormone replacement therapy, and/or oral contraceptives. [45, 46]

Measure plasma lipid and lipoprotein levels while the patient is on a regular diet after an overnight fast. The Endocrine Society also recommends using fasting triglyceride levels over nonfasting triglyceride levels for the diagnosis of hypertriglyceridemia. [46]

Abnormal lipoprotein patterns can often be identified after determining serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels and visual inspection of the plasma sample (stored at 4°C). In some cases, performing electrophoresis and ultracentrifugation of whole plasma specimens may be necessary to help establish a diagnosis.


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