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Can Stress Cause High Triglycerides?

Stress is the condition which occurs due to frustration, anger and nervousness although, these conditions are physical or emotional, but has an impact on the metabolic processes in the body. Various chemicals are secrets due to stress and may lead to increase the level of triglycerides in blood.

Can Stress Cause High Triglycerides?

Can Stress Cause High Triglycerides?

Unmanaged stress alters both metabolic as well as mental process. It significantly reduces the ability of the person to think and lowers cognitive skills. It also increases the level of cholesterol in the body. Stress also increases the level of triglycerides in the following manner:

  1. HDL and LDL. Managing stress in a hostile way may lead to reduction in the HDL, which is good cholesterol and increasing the level of LDL, bad cholesterol. This abnormal ratio increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  2. Metabolic Fuels. During stress, the body produces higher level of metabolic fuels. This leads to increase in the level of LDL and triglycerides.
  3. Body’s Defense In Flight-Fight Situation. Stress is such as situation in which body needs energy. Thus, sugar is supplied to the blood for energy. Unmanaged stress leads to higher sugar level, and the unused sugars are ultimately converted to triglycerides.1
  4. Chemical Secretion. During the stressful conditions, body increases the synthesis of cortisol and adrenaline. These chemicals increase the level of sugar in the blood and increase the production of triglycerides.2

Causes Of High Level Of Triglycerides

There are various reasons due to which high levels of triglycerides circulate in the blood. High level of triglyceride increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and high levels of triglycerides are also a risk factor for metabolic syndrome. Following are the causes of high level of triglycerides:

  1. Obesity. Obesity, especially the abdominal obesity is directly related to the increase level of triglycerides. The increase in triglycerides is done through two important processes. First, obese person has high level of triglycerides secretion. Second, the people with central obesity have significant impairment of triglyceride clearance.
  2. Poorly Managed Diabetes. In poorly managed diabetes, when the liver gets saturated with glycogen, the excess sugar is converted to fatty acids and released in the blood. These fatty acids further combine with glycerol to form triglycerides.
  3. Stress. Stress also increases the level of triglycerides in the blood due to increased synthesis of bad cholesterol, high level of sugar and increased production of triglycerides.
  4. Kidney Disease. Kidney helps in maintaining the level of triglycerides by reducing the synthesis and through effective clearance. In kidney disease, levels of triglyceride increases.
  5. Medications. Various medications such as beta blockers, diuretics, cancer medications such as tamoxifen, retinoids and steroids are also known to increase the level of triglycerides in blood.3, 4


As a main constituent of the body fat, triglyceride is the water containing glycerol and three fatty acids. These are also present in the blood and are also found in the human skin oils. As the triglycerides are not as such absorbed from the intestine, they undergo a process called lipolysis. During lipolysis, triglycerides are broken down into monoacylglycerol and free fatty acids. After absorption in the enterocytes of the intestine, they again combine to form triglycerides. Together with protein and cholesterol, they are known as chylomicrons. They are then released in the blood vessels via lymphatic system and various organs use these chylomicrons as a source of energy.

Whenever a person is in frustration, nervous or angry, he is surrounded by an emotional and physical tension. This emotional and physical tension is termed as stress. Stress is an inseparable part of life and, more important than stress, is to deal with the stress. The people who deals with stress in a negative and unhealthy ways take a toll on their health as compared to people who handle the stress though practical approach.5, 6


Stress increases the level of triglycerides in blood. Various chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline are secreted in response to stress which increases the level of sugar in the blood. The unused sugar is converted to triglycerides.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 29, 2023

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