Fewer adults in U.S. have elevated triglyceride levels

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From 2001 to 2012, the percentage of U.S. adults with elevated triglyceride levels declined in both men and women, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

The results were published in a data brief this month. Researchers Margaret D. Carroll, MSPH, Brian K. Kit, MD, MPH, and David A. Lacher, MD MEd, of the National Center for Health Statistics, examined data from three National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys conducted from 2001 to 2004, 2005 to 2008 and 2011 to 2012.

They noted that elevated triglyceride levels were associated with cardiovascular disease and defined elevated levels as 150 mg/dL or more.

The percentage of adults at least 20 years old with elevated triglyceride levels decreased from 33.3 percent from 2001 to 2004 to 25.1 percent from 2009 to 2012. During that time period, levels declined from 37.3 percent to 28.7 percent for men and from 29.3 percent to 21.5 percent for women.

The declines were also present in overweight and obese men and women as well as adults who were 60 or older.

Researchers did not conduct studies to determine the reasons for the declines. However, they said possible reasons could include a decrease in adults smoking cigarettes, a decline in plasma concentrations of trans-fatty acids and an increase in the number of adults taking cholesterol-lowering medications.