A study conducted by Marianne Benn, MD, PhD, of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark and colleagues, linked elevated levels of non-fasting triglycerides, not cholesterol levels, to an increased risk of ischemic stroke, as shared in a feature on MedPage Today.
Stroke prevention guidelines that are currently in place give advice on managing cholesterol, but not non-fasting triglycerides.
The Danish study determined that the hazard ratio for ischemic stroke in women whose triglyceride levels were at 5 mmol/L or higher was 3.9 (95% CI 1.3 to 11.1, P for trend <0.001), when compared against women with levels below 1 mmol/L. Among men, the hazard ratio for those with high triglyceride levels was 2.3 (95% CI 1.2 to 4.3, P for trend =0.001).
According to the researchers, “Elevated nonfasting triglycerides are markers of elevated levels of cholesterol in lipoprotein remnants thought to be atherogenic in the same way as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, by accumulation in the arterial wall.”
The Danish team conducted an analysis of data from the Copenhagen City Heart Study, in order to see whether there was a link between non-fasting triglycerides and ischemic stroke. The study’s participants consisted of 7,579 women and 6,372 men, with measurements of cholesterol and triglycerides at baseline between 1976 and 1978.
Higher levels of cholesterol, however, were not linked to an increased risk for ischemic stroke among women, based on the results of the study. An association was found among men, but only in those whose cholesterol was 9 mmol/L (HR 4.4, 95% CI 1.9 to 10.6).