Diagnosis of high triglycerides

Triglyceride levels can be determined with a blood test, as part of a profile test. Fasting for 9-12 hours before the blood test is usually required.

  • In addition to total cholesterol, a full lipid profile test includes the levels of all of your important “blood lipids”. These are LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and Triglycerides.
  • Results of studies confirm that reducing LDL cholesterol (often called the ‘bad’ cholesterol) must be of primary concern in the prevention of heart disease.
  • One of the functions of HDL is to remove cholesterol and transport it back to the liver; therefore higher HDL cholesterol (often called the ‘good’ cholesterol) is associated with lower rates of heart disease.
  • Studies have shown an association between increasing triglyceride levels and risk of heart disease.

Triglyceride test results: what do they mean?

Normal less than 1.7 millimoles per litre (mmol/L)
Borderline high between 1.7 to 2.2 (mmol/L)
High between 2.3 to 5.6 (mmol/L)
Very high 5.7 mmol/L or more

If you are over 45 years old or have multiple risk factors for heart disease, you are encouraged to discuss your blood lipid levels with your healthcare provider.

The National Vascular Disease Prevention Alliance and the National Heart Foundation of Australia/Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand have set specific target levels (shown in the table below) for each of the aforementioned lipids.

Blood Lipid

Target Level

Total cholesterol < 4.0 mmol/L
LDL cholesterol < 2.0 mmol/L
< 1.8 mmol/L*
Triglycerides < 2.0 mmol/L
HDL cholesterol > 1.0 mmol/L
*This target is for high-risk patients who have had a coronary event

It is very important to discuss your current blood lipid test results and risk factors with your doctor to determine your ideal target levels. Track and compare your blood lipid level test results over time in the table provided as a printable pdf file.

Pathology report showing your LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol & triglyceride level