The normal range of triglyceride levels vary during an individual’s life and the variation starts right from the neonatal stage to the age of 60 years and beyond. Here is a breakdown of the variations of the average levels as per age and gender.
We have also discussed earlier the variations of cholesterol levels by age
Triglyceride levels in newborns
The normal mean triglyceride levels in neonates are about half of those seen in adults. Female neonates have higher triglyceride levels than their male counterparts.
However, maternal diet has a big influence on the lipid levels of the newborn. Babies born to mothers who consume a high-fat diet tend to have higher triglyceride levels than mothers who eat a low-fat diet.
A newborn who is significantly larger than average in size (macrosomic) born to an obese mother tends to be hypertriglyceridemic.
The National Institute of Health defines the following desired triglyceride levels in children:
- ages 0 to 9 years : 75 mg/dL or lower
- ages 10 to 19: 90 mg/dL or lower
- ages 0 to 9 : 75 to 99 mg/dL
- ages 10 to 19: 90 to 129 mg/dL
- ages 0 to 9 : 100 mg/dL or higher
- ages 10 to 19: 130 mg/dL or higher
If your child’s blood report shows any abnormal numbers, it is advisable to test again after two weeks in the same fasting state before starting treatment.
In the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the following findings were reported:
- the average triglyceride level among adolescents between the ages of 12 to 15 years was 91 mg/dL
- the mean triglyceride level among those between the ages of age 16 to 19 years was 95 mg/dL
In young adulthood, men tend to have higher triglyceride levels than women.
According to the NHANES findings:
- In the age group of 20 to 29 years, the average triglyceride levels in men was 103 mg/dL while in women it was 97 mg/dL
- Between the ages 30 to 39, it was 122 mg/dL for men and 102 mg/dL in women.
- For age 40 to 49 the triglyceride levels in men was 153 mg/dL and 104 mg/dL in women
During the reproductive years
In women, triglyceride levels vary cyclically during the menstrual cycle, the highest triglyceride levels generally seen at midcycle.
Triglyceride levels elevations are typically seen during the late months of pregnancy because of an increased secretion of very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and decreased activity of adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase.
Reference values during pregnancy:
Units——Nonpregnant Adult—First Trimester—–Second Trimester—–-Third Trimester
mg/dL ——–< 150 ————————40 – 159—————– 75 – 382——————– 131 – 453
mmol/L ——-< 1.7 ————————0.5 – 1.8 —————–0.9 – 4.3——————— 1.5 – 5.1
Triglyceride levels increase by about 16% during the menopause transition due to loss of estrogen control over the lipid levels.
There is also an increase in adipose tissue around the abdomen and development of features similar to the metabolic syndrome.
In the elderly
From the age of 60 years and onward, women had higher triglyceride levels than men.