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Healthy Heart Reports

Triglycerides Cause Heart Attacks

High blood cholesterol levels predict heart attacks far more accurately than blood triglycerides, but a study from Sweden shows that high blood triglyceride levels are associated with increased risk for heart attacks and diabetes.

When you take in more calories than you body needs, the extra calories are converted to triglycerides. It doesn't matter whether the extra calories come from carbohydrates, fats or proteins. When your blood sugar level rises too high, your pancreas releases huge amounts of insulin that also raises blood triglyceride levels. The amount of insulin in your bloodstream is determined by how high blood sugar levels rise after eating. Insulin also lowers blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol that helps prevent heart attacks. If your triglyceride level is above the normal 150, you eat too much food or have high blood insulin levels that cause heart attacks. You can reduce blood triglyceride level by eating less food and avoiding foods that cause the highest rise in blood sugar, such as bakery products, pastas, and foods with added sugar.

L Stavenow, T Kjellstrom. Influence of serum triglyceride levels on the risk for myocardial infarction in 12510 middle aged males: interaction with serum cholesterol. Atherosclerosis, 1999, Vol 147, Iss 2, pp 243-247.

Copyright 2003
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

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