Triglyceride levels rise despite increase use of cholesterol-lowering meds

Dec 05, 2008

Regardless of gains made by medications to control some lipids, triglycerides, like obesity and diabetes, are on the rise, according to WellPoint's HealthCore. LDL levels alone aren't enough to knock out heart disease.

Regardless of medication use to control some lipids, triglycerides-much like obesity and diabetes-are on the rise, according to a recent study.

According to HealthCore, WellPoint’s health outcomes research subsidiary, triglyceride levels have risen 12% while low-density lipoprotein levels (LDL) have decreased by 15 mg/dL over the past three decades.

Through this study, HealthCore sought to understand the association between lipid trends and the increased use of cholesterol-lowering medications among U.S. adults.

“We’re winning the LDL battle, but we need to do the same with triglycerides to have a chance of defeating heart disease,” says Mark J. Cziraky, the study’s lead investigator and HealthCore vice president of research, development and operations.

High levels of triglycerides have been linked to the inflammation of the artery walls, increasing one’s risk of heart disease and stroke.

Practitioners have been focused on treating high LDL levels, and they’ve been successful, Cziraky says. At the same time, obesity and diabetes have risen dramatically. “We know that treating LDL levels alone isn’t enough to defeat heart disease,” he says.

Managed care executives can encourage providers to consider appropriate advice and treatments for patients who have high triglyceride levels, not at the expense of LDL-C [low-density lipoprotein cholesterol] control, but in addition to as the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) guidelines recommend, Cziraky says.

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