News That'll Do Your Heart Good

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Triglycerides Recount

The current recommendation for a fasting triglyceride level, a measurement that is part of a cholesterol blood test, is less than 150 mg/dL. But University of Maryland researchers recently found that levels of this type of fat in the blood spike throughout the day -- sometimes even doubling. As a result, the researchers believe 100 is a safer target. "If your fasting triglyceride level is 150, it could soar to 300 during the day, putting you at a higher risk of heart disease," says Michael Miller, MD, study coauthor and director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The National Cholesterol Education Program, which reviews suggested cholesterol levels, says more research is needed before they will consider enacting this change.

What You Should Do

Current recommendations for an accurate triglyceride reading suggest abstaining from alcohol for one to three days, and from food for 12 to 14 hours before a cholesterol test. If your triglyceride levels are 150 or below, you should get checked at least once every five years. If your levels are higher, your doctor may recommend you get tested as often as once a year. It's especially important for women to pay attention to their triglyceride levels, which are a better predictor of heart attack in women than in men, says Dr. Miller.

Triglycerides Stats

  • Current Target: 150 or lower
  • Suggested Target: 100 or lower


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