High triglyceride levels are a strong predictor of a woman’s risk for stroke, even when there are no other risks apparent in her health profile.

Triglycerides are not the same as cholesterols, but they are a type of fat present in the blood. They are the most common type of fat in the body, and they cause the blood to thicken and increase the tendency of the blood to clot, which in turn can cause a heart attack or stroke.

High triglyceride levels often indicate higher levels of total cholesterol and LDL (unhealthy cholesterol), lower levels of HDL (beneficial cholesterol) and an increased risk of diabetes. High triglyceride levels are a strong independent predictor of a person’s risk for stroke, and may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke for women more than for men.

High triglyceride levels are associated with excess alcohol consumption, excess weight or poorly controlled diabetes. Weight loss, reduction in alcohol consumption and improved blood sugar control can often bring triglycerides back to normal levels.

Talk to your doctor about your overall risk profile. If necessary, he or she can test your triglyceride levels.