Triglycerides

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Also known as: TG; TRIG

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

To assess the risk of developing heart disease

When to Get Tested?

As part of a lipid profile during a medical examination or if you are being treated for high triglycerides

Sample Required?

A blood sample taken from a vein in the arm

Test Preparation Needed?

Current standards recommend that testing be done when you are fasting. For approximately 9 to 12 hours before the test, only water is permitted. In addition, alcohol should not be consumed for 24 hours before the test is performed.

The Test Sample

What is being tested?

This test measures the amount of triglycerides in your blood. Triglycerides are the body's storage form of fat. Most triglycerides are found in fat (adipose) tissue. Some triglycerides circulate in the blood to provide fuel for muscles to work. Extra triglycerides are found in the blood after eating a meal — when fat is being sent from the gut to fat tissue for storage. Ideally, the test for triglycerides should be performed when you are fasting with no extra triglycerides present in the bloodstream from a recent meal.

How is the sample collected for testing?

Most often, a blood sample is collected using a needle to extract blood from a vein in the arm.

NOTE: If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or even difficult to manage, you might consider reading one or more of the following articles: Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety, Tips on Blood Testing, Tips to Help Children through Their Medical Tests, and Tips to Help the Elderly through Their Medical Tests.

Another article, Follow That Sample, provides a glimpse at the collection and processing of a blood sample and throat culture.

Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?

Current standards recommend that testing be done when you are fasting. For approximately 9 to 12 hours before the test, only water is permitted. In addition, alcohol should not be consumed for 24 hours before the test is performed.

The Test

Common Questions

Ask a Laboratory Scientist

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NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board. This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review. Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.