Cardiologists have focused on cholesterol as a major risk factor for heart disease. Neurologists, on the other hand, may start paying more attention to triglycerides for preventing strokes. A new study from Denmark suggests that the danger of having a blood clot in the brain increases as triglycerides rise above 90 mg/dL. The 30-year study included almost 14,000 adults and had 100 percent complete follow-up.
In women, the highest level of triglycerides was associated with nearly quadruple the risk of stroke; in men, the corresponding risk was about double. Cholesterol levels had no impact on stroke in women. In men, the risk of stroke quadrupled when cholesterol levels reached 350. Perhaps it is time to start paying as much attention to triglycerides as cholesterol. Studies have shown that reducing refined carbohydrates, taking fish oil, eating nuts and losing excess weight can all help lower triglycerides.
[Annals of Neurology, online Feb. 18, 2011]