Wiley Logo Increased non-fasting triglycerides are believed to denote elevated levels of lipoprotein remnants that are particles similar to low density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol. In a major breakthrough, Danish scientists claim that increasing levels of non-fasting triglycerides are associated with higher chances of experiencing an ischemic stroke in men and women. It was mentioned that higher cholesterol possibly paves way for stroke in only men.

The study encompassed 7,579 women and 6,372 men who were white and of Danish decent. All the subjects were registered with non-fasting triglycerides and cholesterol measurements taken at baseline from 1976-1978 and were followed for up to 33 years. Ischemic stroke was diagnosed when focal neurological symptoms lasted for more than 24 hours. At the time of the follow-up, 837 women and 837 men reportedly suffered from an ischemic stroke. In conclusion, it was asserted that increasing levels of non-fasting triglycerides lead to elevated risk of ischemic stroke.

“Interestingly, current guidelines on stroke prevention have recommendations on desirable cholesterol levels, but not on non-fasting triglycerides,” quoted lead study author, Dr. Marianne Benn from Copenhagen University Hospital. “Our study was the first to examine how the risk of stroke for very high levels of non-fasting triglycerides compared with very high cholesterol levels in the general population.”

Among women with triglycerides levels of 1-2 mmol/L, the threat was probably 1.2 and those with levels of 5 mmol/L or greater witnessed a 3.9-fold greater risk than women whose triglycerides levels were less than 1 mmol/L (89 mg/dL). A relative risk ranging from 1.2 to 2.3 appeared in men with similar triglyceride levels. Scientists noted that raised cholesterol levels do not heighten risk of ischemic stroke in women. It was suggested that levels of non-fasting triglycerides can be included in stroke prevention guidelines which at present focus on total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.

The study is published online in the journal Annals of Neurology.