High levels of triglycerides can lead to stroke

Mar 10, 2011

Fatty foods contain triglycerides that scientists say can increase a person's risk for stroke.

Having increased levels of triglycerides may be as much of a risk factor for ischemic stroke as cholesterol, according to a recent Danish study.

High levels of triglycerides - the chemical form in which fat exists in food and the body - can lead to a pronounced risk for stroke. In a study of 14,000 men and women with baseline levels of both triglycerides and cholesterol who were tracked for up to 33 years, researchers found the an overabundance of triglycerides was linked with a higher risk of stroke even after adjusting the results for factors such as age, gender, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

Scientists discovered that women with triglyceride levels above 443 mg/dL had almost quadruple the risk of suffering from a stroke compared to women with normal levels, while men's risk went up 20 percent or higher as triglyceride levels increased. Furthermore, cholesterol was not found to affect stroke risk for women, although it was a factor for men.

Marianne Benn, the lead author of the study, said based off the study, adults should have triglyceride levels of about 180 to 200 mg/dL to prevent a stroke.

Lifestyle factors have a major influence of triglyceride rates, and can also affect life insurance premiums. According to the American Heart Association, consuming a low-fat diet, reducing alcohol intake and engaging in moderate exercise can all lower triglycerides and maintain cardiac health. 

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