Find out a possible explanation for why your triglyceride level has jumped from last time you had it taken.

You awaken at 7 a.m., knowing that at 10 a.m. you’ll be going to the medical clinic to get your blood drawn for a lipid panel.

You drink nothing, no water, not even coffee. That’s because along with the blood draw for the lipid panel, you’re also getting blood drawn for the fasting glucose reading.

The results show a marked jump in your triglyceride level compared to last time.

What on earth? You haven’t changed your eating habits; you still exercise; have not gained weight.

Though menopausal transition can cause a spike in triglyceride levels, what if this happens but you’re nowhere near menopause or you’re a man?

“Prolonged or chronic dehydration can cause cell walls to thicken and increase production of cholesterol, making the numbers falsely elevated,” says Pilar Stevens-Cohen, MD, FACC, Department of Cardiology, South Nassau Communities Hospital.

“Many physicians counsel of fasting but do not remind patients to stay well-hydrated.”

So there’s a pretty good chance that your triglyceride jump is due to the dehydration that preceded it.

Think about that: No water for three hours since awakening; no water during the eight hours you slept; no water for three hours preceding bedtime. That’s 14 hours without fluids.

  • What if you’re well-hydrated at bedtime, but then drink no water between awakening next morning and your lipid panel draw several hours later?
  • How much of an elevation in triglycerides might this cause?

“I don’t think we have an actual answer to that,” says Dr. Stevens-Cohen. But she does say this:

“I do not believe that fasting the day of the test would cause a significant increase in triglyceride levels.

“Most labs suggest patients remain well-hydrated, but they do not define how long it would take to cause a significant increase in triglyceride levels.”

Dr. Stevens-Cohen is board certified in cardiology, nuclear cardiology, echocardiography and internal medicine.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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