The results obviously need verification, Miller said. "At the present time, we don't have a recommendation for triglyceride lowering, so the next logical step is a study to determine whether lowering triglycerides and LDL reduces risk more than lowering LDL alone," he said. Two such studies are in progress, Miller noted.
Previous research has already pointed toward such a connection: A study that appeared in Neurology last December found a link between triglycerides and stroke risk, while research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last July showed that when high triglyceride levels showed up in nonfasting cholesterol tests, there was an increased risk for a future heart attack.
Dr. Leslie Cho, an interventional cardiologist who is director of the Women's Cardiovascular Center of the Cleveland Clinic, noted that the new report "is not a huge surprise."
"The unique thing about this study is that even if you control bad LDL cholesterol to less than 70, you still need to look at triglycerides," Cho said.
The problem with triglycerides is that "they are the most unstable fats in the body," so that at least two readings are needed to get an accurate measure of blood levels, she explained.
Meanwhile, Miller said, "I am proactive about both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides." Several measures can be taken to lower triglyceride levels -- many of them already recommended on general principles for reduction of coronary risk.
One is to eat a Mediterranean diet, rich in fish. Omega-3 fatty acids can lower triglyceride levels, as can niacin, and exercise has a benefi
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