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Triglycerides Linked to Coronary Disease Risk
Date:2/12/2008

Should be considered along with LDL cholesterol in prevention efforts, study indicates

TUESDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A new study showing that high levels of triglycerides were strong predictors of cardiac trouble strengthens the case for including measurement of the blood fats in prevention programs.

"Triglycerides traditionally have been viewed as second-class citizens," said Dr. Michael Miller, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and lead author of the report in the Feb. 12 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.. "LDL cholesterol has always taken center stage. We know that LDL is intimately involved in bringing cholesterol to scavenger cells, which deposit them to form plaques in the arteries. This study shows that triglycerides in and of themselves are also lipids to blame."

The original study was designed to test the effectiveness of two LDL-lowering statins, Pravachol and Lipitor, in reducing recurring coronary disease after a heart attack. The new study went over the data on the 4,162 participants in the trial, looking at the association between triglyceride levels and the incidence of heart problems and death.

"The patients who had heart attacks came back after 30 days," said Miller. "We measured LDL levels and triglyceride levels and followed them over the next two years, evaluating for the occurrence of new events and death. If a patient had triglyceride levels below 150 [milligrams per deciliter], there was a 27 percent lower risk of having a new event over time. After multiple adjustments, for such things as age, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, the risk reduction was 20 percent."

Unlike LDL cholesterol, for which there is a recommended blood level, 70 or below, there is no recommended blood triglyceride level, Miller said, but 150 milligrams per deciliter or below is "considered as desirable."

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