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Triglyceride Concentration And Ischemic Heart Disease

J ørgen Jeppesen, Hans Ole Hein, Poul Suadicani, Finn Gyntelberg

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Background —The role of triglycerides as a risk factor of ischemic heart disease (IHD) remains controversial. For the present study, we examined the relation between fasting triglycerides and risk of IHD in the Copenhagen Male Study. Methods and Results —Baseline measurements of fasting lipids and other IHD risk factors were obtained for 2906 white men (age range, 53 to 74 years) who were initially free of overt cardiovascular disease. During an 8-year follow-up period, 229 men had a first IHD event. Crude cumulative incidence rates of IHD were 4.6% for the lowest, 7.7% for the middle, and 11.5% for the highest third of triglyceride levels ( P for trend <.001). Compared with the lowest third level and adjusted for age, body mass index, alcohol, smoking, physical activity, hypertension, non–insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, social class, and LDL and HDL cholesterol, relative risks of IHD (95% confidence interval) were 1.5 (1.0 to 2.3; P =.05) and 2.2 (1.4 to 3.4; P <.001) for the middle and highest third of triglyceride levels, respectively. When triglyceride levels were stratified by HDL cholesterol levels (triglyceride third multiplied by HDL cholesterol third), a clear gradient of risk of IHD was found with increasing triglyceride levels within each level of HDL cholesterol, including high HDL cholesterol level, which are thought to provide protection against IHD. Conclusions —In middle-aged and elderly white men, a high level of fasting triglycerides is a strong risk factor of IHD independent of other major risk factors, including HDL cholesterol.