Study: High Triglycerides May Increase Risk Of Second Stroke

Minneapolis [US], March 17 (ANI): A new study led by the American Academy of Neurology has found that people with atherothrombotic stroke who also have higher levels of triglycerides may have a higher risk of having another stroke or other cardiovascular problems one year later, compared to people who had a stroke but have lower triglyceride levels.

The study was published in the journal, ‘Neurology’. An atherothrombotic stroke is caused by a clot that forms from plaques that build up within blood vessels in the brain. Triglycerides are a type of fat, which is found in people with atherothrombotic stroke. Elevated triglyceride levels are thought to contribute to the hardening of the arteries and increased risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke.

“Our study suggests that for people who had an atherothrombotic stroke, having elevated levels of triglycerides in their blood is a risk factor for having another stroke or other cardiovascular problems in the future, and we found that to be true even if the person is on statin therapy,” said study author Takao Hoshino, MD, of the Tokyo Women’s Medical University in Japan.

“The good news is that statin medications are just one therapy for high triglycerides–diet and exercise can also be effective ways to reduce the levels in your blood at little or no cost,” he added.

The study looked at 870 people who had a stroke or transient ischemic attack. Their average age was 70. Of those, 217, or 25 per cent, had elevated triglyceride levels, defined as fasting triglycerides levels 150 milligrams per deciliter or higher.

Researchers followed up with the participants one year later to find out if there was an association between high triglyceride levels and having another stroke, acute coronary syndrome, which is any condition caused by a sudden reduction of blood flow to the heart, or death due to vascular causes.

After adjusting for factors like cholesterol level and statin use, researchers found that people who had high triglyceride levels had a 21 per cent greater risk of death, stroke or heart condition one year, compared to 10 per cent greater risk for those with lower levels.

When researchers looked specifically at people who had another stroke after an atherothrombotic stroke, they found that 14 out of 114 people with normal triglyceride levels, or 12 per cent, had one during the study, compared to 33 out of 217 people, or 16 per cent, of those with elevated levels.

For acute coronary syndrome, one out of 114 people, or 0.9 per cent, with normal triglyceride levels developed the heart condition one year after an atherothrombotic stroke, compared to five out of 60, or 8 per cent, of those with elevated levels.

Hoshino noted the study did not find an association between higher triglyceride levels and future cardiovascular problems in people who had a different type of stroke called a cardioembolic stroke.

“More research is needed, but for people who have had an atherothrombotic stroke, triglyceride levels may emerge as a key target for preventing future strokes and other cardiovascular problems,” Hoshino said.

“Statin therapy is still an effective treatment for people with high triglyceride levels, but our study highlights how important it looks at all the tools a person can use to lower their triglycerides, including diet modifications, exercise and taking omega-3 fatty acids,” he concluded.

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