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Triglyceride levels predict stroke risk in postmenopausal women
Date:2/2/2012

NEW YORK, February 2, 2012 Postmenopausal women may be at higher risk of having a stroke than they think.

A new study by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and colleagues found that traditional risk factors for stroke such as high cholesterol are not as accurate at predicting risk in postmenopausal women as previously thought. Instead, researchers say doctors should refocus their attention on triglyceride levels to determine which women are at highest risk of suffering a devastating and potentially fatal cardiovascular event. The study appears online today in the journal Stroke.

"Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are affected by stroke and there is a tremendous emphasis on identifying people at increased risk," said lead author Jeffrey S. Berger, MD, assistant professor of medicine and director of Cardiovascular Thrombosis at NYU School of Medicine, part of NYU Langone Medical Center. "This study revealed that what we've been using to evaluate risk all these years actually has little to no predictive value in older women. Triglyceride levels, however, take on a new significance. "

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year. Ischemic strokes, the type assessed in this study, account for more than eight out of every ten strokes. They occur when blood clots, developing from high levels of a waxy substance in the blood called cholesterol, obstruct blood vessels to the brain. Cholesterol is made up of several lipids, or lipoproteins. Triglycerides are one type of such a lipoprotein, while others include low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL)."

"We've always believed that total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels were the most important biomarkers for identifying stroke risk, but this study gives us strong evidence to question that approach," Dr. Berger said.

The researchers analyzed data
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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jessica.guenzel@nyumc.org
212-404-3591
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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