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Increasing Triglycerides Tied to Ischemic Stroke Risk

Higher cholesterol levels associated with increased risk of ischemic stroke in men

MONDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing levels of nonfasting triglycerides are associated with an increasing risk of ischemic stroke in both men and women, and high cholesterol levels are associated with ischemic stroke risk in men only, according to research published online Feb. 18 in the Annals of Neurology.

Anette Varbo, M.D., from the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues investigated the link between increasing levels of nonfasting triglycerides and cholesterol and ischemic stroke risk. Baseline nonfasting triglycerides and cholesterol were measured between 1976 and 1978 in 7,579 women and 6,372 men from the Copenhagen City Heart Study. During the 33-year follow-up, 837 women and 837 men developed ischemic stroke.

The investigators found that, in both men and women, there was a significant association between stepwise increasing levels of nonfasting triglycerides and increased risk of ischemic stroke. Compared to women with triglyceride levels less than 1 mmol/L, the risk for ischemic stroke increased as the triglyceride levels increased to 1.00 to 1.99 mmol/L (hazard ratio [HR], 1.2), and to greater than or equal to 5 mmol/L (HR, 3.9). At similar triglyceride levels in men the HR was 1.2 to 2.3, respectively. The only instance of increasing cholesterol levels being associated with stroke was in men with cholesterol levels greater than or equal to 9.00 mmol/L (HR, 4.4).

"Our findings suggest that levels of nonfasting triglycerides should be included in guidelines as a marker of elevated levels of remnant lipoprotein cholesterol," the authors write.

One of the study authors disclosed financial ties with several pharmaceutical companies.

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