All hospitals in Copenhagen now use the non-fasting method of testing blood triglyceride levels, Nordestgaard said. The change is spreading to other cities in Denmark and possibly to other Scandinavian countries, he said.
The case for non-fasting measurements was made in another paper outlining results of tests of 34,000 people, Nordestgaard said. "We measured standard lipids [fats], looking at how much does the reading change after eating normal food," he said. "The changes were really minimal and of no clinical importance. Based on that finding and the JAMA paper, we believe it might be better to do all testing in a non-fasting state."
Dr. Irene Katzan, a vascular neurologist with the Cleveland Clinic's Cerebrovascular Center, said the new study "provides important corroborative evidence" for a link between triglyceride levels and stroke risk.
Two studies reported in 2007 pointed to such a link, especially in women, Katzan said. "This adds to that literature," she said.
And while previous studies have suggested that non-fasting levels of blood lipids might be better indicators of risk than conventional fasting levels, "this provides a more clear association," Katzan said.
"Measuring and monitoring lipid levels is an important part of stroke risk evaluation," she said. "It is important for the cardiologist and important for the neurologist."
Learn what triglycerides are and why they are important from the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: Borge G. Nordestgaard, M.D., professor of genetic epidemiology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark; Irene Katzan, M.D., vascular neurologist, Cleveland Clinic's Cerebrovascular Center; Nov. 12, 2008, Journal
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