Glucose is the form of sugar used by your body as fuel to create energy in the cells. Extra glucose is stored in your liver and muscles as glycogen. When glucose is needed, the glycogen, which is much like a starch, is converted back into glucose. Triglycerides are a compound also formed by your body for storage of fuel. Fats and glucose that are not needed for immediate use are stored in adipose tissues and liver in the form of triglycerides. Insulin triggers the formation of triglycerides. Some cells, such as brain cells, can only use glucose for energy. A portion of the triglyceride molecule can then be converted to glucose.
A high glucose test means that there is more glucose in the blood than your body can store or process normally. In a healthy person, there will be an increase about two hours after a meal while your system deals with the new nutrients. It then returns to a fasting level. For adults, a normal fasting blood glucose or sugar level is from about 70 to 99 mg per deciliter of blood. These levels are according to Lab Tests Online. There are variations in the normal range at different labs, but your report will reflect this. Fasting levels of 100 to 125 mg/dL indicate impaired fasting glucose and are considered pre-diabetic. Fasting levels higher than 125 mg/dL are considered diabetic levels.
A high triglyceride test also indicates an excess of nutrients in the blood. There can be hereditary factors involved as well as dietary factors. This can make it more difficult for some people to keep triglyceride levels low. "Interpretation of Diagnostic Tests" has a normal value for triglycerides as less than 200 mg/dL. The "Merck Manual" considers a level of less than 150 mg/dL to be optimal.
The combination of high glucose and high triglycerides along with other findings such as a high concentration of body fat in the midsection and high blood pressure are often referred to as metabolic syndrome. This is associated with a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and often both accompanies it and complicates it. It may also indicate a greater risk for heart disease and stroke.
Before diabetes or other complications develop, you can do a lot to lower both your glucose and triglyceride levels. A lower calorie diet and modest weight loss are beneficial, according to the Mayo Clinic. The long-term dietary goals are reduced refined and fatty foods and more complex carbohydrates. Refined sugar, alcohol and high cholesterol foods are especially known to raise triglyceride levels. With diet and lifestyle changes and with medications when needed, the metabolic syndrome and its health risks can be reversed.
Tests for both glucose and triglyceride levels must be done while fasting to return accurate fasting levels. Plan your blood test for an evening and morning when you can fast. The book "Interpretation of Diagnostic Tests" recommends a fast of 12 to 14 hours for accurate measurement of triglycerides. Discuss with the lab their recommendations and ask their advice about medications that you would usually take during the fasting period.
- "Nutrition in Clinical Practice: A Comprehensive, Evidence-Based Manual for the Practitioner" (2nd Edition); Katz, David L., Friedman, Rachel S.C. ; 2008
- Lab Tests Online
- "Interpretation of Diagnostic Tests" Seventh Edition; Jacques Wallach, M.D.; 2000
- "The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals" (Online version)
- Mayo Clinic; Mayo Clinic Staff