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Raised triglycerides (secondary causes)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Hypertriglyceridaemia is most commonly due to a secondary cause.

  • secondary causes of raised TG include:
    • high alcohol intake, renal disease, drugs (retinoids, cyclosporin, some beta blockers, oestrogens, corticosteroids, protease inhibitors), bulaemia, pregnancy and, rarely, immunoglobulin excess
      • possibly the most common cause of hypertriglyceridaemia is the metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance syndrome) and type 2 diabetes
  • inherited causes of a raised triglyceride include familial combined hyperlipidaemia and lipoprotein lipase deficiency

Raised TGs are often associated with low HDL and small dense LDL particles which are considered to be highly atherogenic.This combination is often referred to as the atherogenic lipid triad.

Massive hypertriglyceridaemia (fasting >11mmol/L) is associated with risk of acute pancreatitis (1).


  • (1) British Heart Foundation Factfile (June 2008). Triglycerides.

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