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06-02-2012 | Stroke | Article

Triglycerides predict stroke risk in postmenopausal women


Free abstract

MedWire News: Study findings suggest that triglyceride levels, as well as several lipid and lipoprotein biomarkers, are associated with stroke risk in postmenopausal women.

Compared with those with low levels, the risk for ischemic stroke increased by approximately 50% among individuals with high levels of triglycerides, intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL) particle number, or very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) size, report researchers.

Jeffrey Berger (New York University Medical Center, USA) and colleagues explain that standard lipid testing includes total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol.

"The present study supports the new guidelines from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association on stroke prevention, which recognizes triglycerides as a risk factor for stroke," they say.

Using data from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, the researchers examined the association between lipid and lipoprotein biomarkers and the risk for ischemic stroke among postmenopausal women, aged 50-79 years at baseline, in a nested case-control study.

Mean follow-up was 7.9 years, and a total of 774 ischemic stroke patients and matched controls were included in the final analysis.

Berger et al report that baseline triglycerides, IDL particles, LDL particles, VLDL triglycerides, VLDL particles, VLDL size, LDL size, and total/HDL cholesterol ratio were significantly higher among women with incident ischemic stroke compared with controls. In addition, levels of HDL cholesterol and HDL size were significantly lower in ischemic stroke patients.

Of note, no significant baseline difference was observed for total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, or lipoprotein (a).

Multivariate analysis revealed that, compared with those in the lowest quartile, patients with triglyceride levels in the highest quartile were at a significant 56% increased risk for ischemic stroke. VLDL size and IDL particle number were also associated with stroke risk, with a 59% and 46% increased risk for those in the highest versus lowest quartiles, respectively.

Writing in Stroke, the researchers say: "Our data suggest that lipid and lipoprotein abnormalities may play a larger role in the risk for ischemic stroke than traditional lipid testing indicates."

The team concludes: "Future studies should confirm our results and address the hypothesis whether lifestyle modification and/or pharmacological therapy aimed at reducing triglycerides are warranted for reducing the risk of ischemic stroke."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Nikki Withers

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