Studies boost triglycerides' role in heart disease
Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, WI)
Those studies, appearing in the
"Often, the medical community focused itself on lowering LDL cholesterol only," said Dr.
Medical professionals have long noticed a connection between triglycerides, cholesterol and heart health. High-density lipoprotein, or "good" cholesterol, protects against heart disease while "bad" LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, when elevated, increase risk, Sharaf said.
"We feel LDL and triglycerides not only directly contribute to disease but are markers of inflammation and involve interaction with other very complex pathways," he said. "The truth is, scientists are only scratching the surface of how complex these interactions are."
"The triglyceride/HDL picture has not been as clear as the LDL picture, and this study is a potential step toward that," Pope said.
"I think one of the things that has been on the forefront of everyone's mind is having some type of genotyping to determine people's risk for various diseases," she said. "We already do some of that. ... This is just another genetic basis for determining people's risk for heart disease."
Medical professionals recommend a triglyceride level of 150 mg/dl or less. Fats, sugar and alcohol can all affect those levels, Kasik-Miller said.
Sharaf said the studies might lead to using more combination therapy -- using classes of medications such as fibrates (acids used to treat metabolic disorders) along with conventional statins such as Lipitor -- to treat heart disease.
"Up till now, many patients are only on statins, addressing the LDL aspect of the equation, but ignoring largely the triglyceride aspect," he said.
Simple changes such as improving diet, exercising more and losing weight all can help reduce triglyceride levels.
"Those kind of changes in lifestyle can help lower triglycerides tremendously,"
Miels can be reached at 715-833-9214, 800-236-7077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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