My question is whether triglyceride levels in the 'high' range (200-500 mg/dl) are a risk factor for heart disease.

There are different lipids in blood and high LDL cholesterol level in blood needs to be brought down to prevent heart disease (primary prevention) as well as its complications (secondary prevention).

Triglyceride is another type of lipid in the blood (normal level <150 mg/dl; 150-200 mg/dl is borderline high). Reference: http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/lowering-triglyceride-levels

'Very high' triglyceride levels (>500 mg/dl) are associated with risk of pancreatitis and hence they need to be brought down with medication.

Also, should medication be used to bring them down for primary prevention of heart disease for people without heart disease?

Thanks for your replies.

  • 1
    Your question headline is not congruent with your question text. A high triglyceride level can cause pancreatitis, and so for that reason it should clearly be treated when elevations get into the very high range. That answers the question you asked, but not the question in your headline. Be more specific about the triglyceride range. Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 4:55
  • It would add focus if you could specify primary (i.e. in those without established cardiovascular disease) vs secondary prevention.
    – Susan
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 6:06
  • @IronPillow , @ Susan: I have edited my question above.
    – rncardio
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 6:56
  • 1
    @rncardio I've cleaned your post to 2 separate questions. To get a better chance of response, try to keep your posts focused on one question at a time. This helps others understand what you're looking for and saves everyone time. Thanks, and good luck!
    – Dave Liu
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 22:58

2 Answers 2


This question is old, but the answer might help some other people:)

First of all: yes, high triglycerides are a risk for CVD.
However, there is no evidence that treatment of moderately high triglycerides will decrease the rate of CHD for primary prevention in otherwise healthy individuals. The amount of side effects of medication are more important than the very very little gain that might be expected.


Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. Some triglycerides are needed for good health. But high triglycerides might raise your risk of heart disease.

Range of triglyceride levels:

  • Normal is less than 150.

  • Borderline-high is 150 to 199.

  • High is 200 to 499.

  • Very high is 500 or higher.

If you have high triglyceride levels, you possibly have an increased risk for developing heart disease and other health issues.

  • 2
    Fine answer just add a reference
    – L.B.
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 19:57
  • Welcome to Health.SE. Since health is an important topic, the site has a strict policy that all answers should be backed up with reliable references, in order to provide the community with the means to assess the merit of the answer, regardless of the reader's background. See this list of reliable sources. If you still have trouble with this, feel free to visit the help center.
    – Narusan
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 16:38

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