Do Triglyceride Tests Really Help Predict Heart Disease?
"They might have the right answer but the wrong conclusion," Grundy tells WebMD. "Triglycerides are a marker for multiple risk factors for heart disease." He adds that they are a marker for heart disease, not necessarily a cause of the disease. "If they are a marker [for future heart disease], it doesn't mean you don't have trouble when the [level's] high. If you live in a tornado area and the siren goes off, you don't go out and treat the siren for going off. To say they are not a meaningful clinical marker is not correct."
Avins says that regardless of the predictive value of triglyceride tests, patients with higher-than-normal cholesterol levels or other risks of heart disease should take action. These include:
- Stop smoking.
- Reduce your blood pressure.
- Get treatment for high cholesterol levels.
- Consider preventive aspirin therapy.
- Ask your doctor about drugs known as ACE inhibitors.
Although they are not conclusively proven to reduce heart disease, other important actions include moderate exercise and stress reduction.