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Researcher calls for wide triglyceride screening

November 11, 1996
Web posted at: 12:00 a.m. EST

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- There is new evidence that a common blood fat called triglycerides should be considered more seriously as a risk factor for coronary artery disease or heart attack, researchers announced at the annual American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans Monday.

Triglycerides can lead to heart disease by making blood more "sluggish," said Dr. Michael Miller of the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Typically a triglyceride level of 200 or more was considered dangerous, but Miller's research shows even a level as low as 100 increased heart disease risk. For people with a triglyceride level of 100 or more, the risk was nearly 2.3 times greater.

There is a significant number of heart patients who have no obvious risk factors. Miller says triglyceride levels should now be considered to help identify people at risk for developing heart problems.

Triglycerides are tested the same way cholesterol is tested -- with a simple blood test. According to Miller, everyone should get their triglycerides tested along with their cholesterol. People can still have elevated triglycerides, even if they have normal cholesterol.

Triglyceride can be lowered by following a low-fat diet and exercising.

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