The December 11, 2001, issue of Circulation, the journal of the
American Heart Association (AHA), published a study by Tanne et al. of
Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Israel. It reported on more than
11,000 individuals with coronary heart disease but no previous history
of stroke or transient ischemic attacks (TIA). All were followed for
six to eight years for risk of stroke or TIA. A stroke or TIA occurs
when a blood clot or narrowed artery blocks blood flow to the brain.
During the study, 487 individuals experienced such an incident. They
were found to have triglyceride levels that were higher and HDLs
("good" cholesterol levels) that were lower than those of individuals
who did not develop stroke or TIA.
The conclusion of the researchers was that triglycerides greater than
200 mg/dL increased the risk of having a stroke by 30 percent,
independent of other risk factors. The authors suggested that
physicians should pay closer attention to triglyceride levels. More
effective screening and detection of high triglycerides and treatments
to modify this stroke risk factor could further reduce the clinical and
public health burdens of stroke.