ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
CANCER
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
Gene Studies Reveal Cancer's Secrets
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
CAREGIVING
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
DIET, NUTRITION
Atkins Diet Tougher on Heart After Weight Loss
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Eating Free Range
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
FITNESS
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Lower Vitamin D Levels in Blacks May Up Heart Risks
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
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High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans

MONDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans have higher-than-recommended levels of the blood fats called triglycerides, and most aren't making the lifestyle changes necessary to bring those levels down, a study finds.

"Clearly, the focus in this country has been on cholesterol levels," said Dr. Earl S. Ford, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author of a report in the March 23 Archives of Internal Medicine. "But there are a fair number of studies that suggest that triglycerides have a role in cardiovascular disease."

While just about everyone knows about the link between cholesterol and heart disease, few Americans seem concerned about triglycerides, which are the most common kind of fats in the body -- and in food.

Triglyceride levels aren't nearly as big a concern as cholesterol levels. While the journal report states that, "increasing evidence supports triglyceride concentration as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease," the report also hedges that a bit, saying, "if triglycerides are indeed a risk factor."

Nonetheless, the National Cholesterol Education Program offers a list of recommendations about blood triglyceride levels: that they are best kept under 150 milligrams per deciliter; considered borderline high between 150 and 199 milligrams per deciliter; and deemed high at 200 or greater.

Data on 5,610 Americans in National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 1999 and 2004 found that 33.1 percent of them had borderline high triglyceride levels; 17.9 percent had readings of 200 or higher; 1.7 percent came in at 500 or higher; and 0.4 percent were at 1,000 or higher, the study found.

Use of three triglyceride-lowering drugs was limited, with 2.6 percent of those in the borderline high group and 3.6 percent of those in the 200-and-higher group taking them. The drugs -- gembifrozil, niacin and fenofibrate --are also prescribed to raise levels of HDL cholesterol, the "good" kind that helps prevent artery blockage.

That may be just as well, Ford said. "Unlike LDL cholesterol, where we have all kinds of trials showing the benefits of statins against cardiovascular disease, there is not as strong a database for triglycerides," he said. "Until we get stronger evidence of benefit, drug treatment of triglycerides remains a little uncertain. Whether taking these drugs will reduce cardiovascular disease is unclear."

So the recommended treatment for elevated triglyceride levels is the kind of lifestyle recommended for high cholesterol levels, Ford said. Indeed, survey participants with high triglyceride levels tended to be overweight, inactive and smoke.

Losing weight, getting exercise, eating low-fat foods and giving up smoking apply to triglycerides as well, Ford said. An additional recommendation is to reduce consumption of alcohol, which promotes triglyceride production by the liver.

Dr. Stephen Nicholls, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, believes that triglycerides may deserve more scrutiny by physicians. "Many doctors are not sure about how aggressive they should be in treating elevated triglycerides," he said. "There are always other issues, such as obesity and smoking, involved. But we are understanding more and more that looking after triglycerides is important in providing heart care. If you look at large populations, those with high levels of triglycerides always do worse."

-Ed Edelson

More information

For more on triglycerides and what should be done about them, visit the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Earl S. Ford, M.D., MPH, medical officer, U.S. Public Health Service, Atlanta; Stephen Nicholls M.D., Ph.D, cardiologist, Cleveland Clinic; March 23, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine

Last Updated: March 23, 2009

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