Elevated blood triglycerides are common among athletes, with many of them having elevated levels of the fatty acids known as triglycerides, according to research published Monday.
The research found that players who are active and in high-stress situations — including when playing in high school, college or the NFL — are more likely to have elevated triglycerides.
The study, which looked at 4,065 active college football players, found that about two-thirds had elevated triglyceride values of more than 300 milligrams per deciliter.
The average value of the test, which is taken daily, was around 270.
The players’ triglyceride test results were linked to a number of risk factors, including hypertension, obesity and diabetes, according the researchers, including a higher prevalence of high blood pressure and obesity.
High triglyceride readings were also associated with a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
High blood pressure also increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and certain cancers, the researchers said.
Dr. William Schaffner, who led the research, said that in the study, players who were active and had high triglycerides were at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The increased risk could be a result of increased triglyceride accumulation in the body, which may occur in response to stress, he said.
The researchers didn’t find an association between elevated triglycerid levels and an increased rate of heart disease.
Schaffner said the increased risk may be due to the fact that the triglycerides accumulated in the blood during the day and may be more readily metabolized.
The research was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, but the findings were also supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.