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How to Calculate Triglycerides

author image Todd Helfman
Todd Helfman started writing in 2010. He started as a means of using his experience in clinical medicine to educate others. Helfman holds a Doctor of Osteopathy from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and is a board certified emergency physician through the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine.
How to Calculate Triglycerides
Man using a calculator Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

Triglycerides are molecules found in vegetable and animal fats. When ingested, they circulate in the blood plasma until they are stored in the body as fat and are also formed in the body through the breakdown of carbohydrates. Triglycerides have been strongly linked to the occurrence of coronary artery disease or heart disease, as well as the occurrence of strokes and peripheral vascular disease. Being able to calculate triglyceride levels can help you know how to control your own.

Step 1

Take your cholesterol levels and put them into the Friedman formula, except for VLDL:

LDL = total cholesterol - HDL - VLDL

Example: 105 = 210 - 51 - VLDL

Step 2

Rearrange the Friedman Formula so you are calculating for VLDL:

VLDL = total cholesterol - HDL - LDL

Example: VLDL = 210 - 51 - 105

Step 3

VLDL is equal to triglycerides divided by five, so substitute accordingly in the equation:

Triglycerides/5 = total cholesterol - HDL - LDL

Example: Triglycerides/5 = 210 - 51 - 105

Step 4

Add together the total on the right.

Example: Triglycerides/5 = 54

Step 5

Multiply the total on the right by five to get your triglyceride level

Example: Triglycerides = 270mg/dl

Step 6

Compare your level to the chart provided in Tips.

Example: Triglyceride level 270mg/dl = too high
Discuss results with your health care professional.

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