Prevalence and clinical risk prediction of hypertriglyceridaemia in a community cohort

Intern Med J. 2021 Nov 15. doi: 10.1111/imj.15626. Online ahead of print.


Background: Hypertriglyceridaemia (HTG) (defined as ≥1.7mmol/L) has a prevalence of 18-33% with significant inter-regional variation. Despite meta-analyses demonstrating its association with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, only 40% of HTG is identified in the community resulting in underutilisation of lipid lowering therapy and specialist clinics. Increase awareness of its clinical risk factors is needed to improve identification and management of HTG to prevent cardiovascular risk.

Aims: To evaluate the prevalence, distribution and clinical predictors of hypertriglyceridaemia ≥1.7 mmol/L in a representative community group.

Methods: Data were obtained from the Hunter Community Study (HCS), a longitudinal cohort of community-dwelling men and women aged between 55-85 years residing in Newcastle, NSW. Fasting triglycerides were identified based on availability of fasting blood glucose level and categorised according to normal (<1.7mmol/L), mild (1.7- <2.3mmol/L), and moderate-severe HTG (≥2.3mmol/L). Clinical predictors of HTG were assessed using linear and logistic regression models.

Results: Of 2536 triglyceride levels, 2216 (87%) were in a fasting state and included in the study. Three hundred and two (13.6%) participants had mild HTG and 221 (10.0%) participants had moderate-severe HTG. Significant clinical predictors of HTG included male gender, increasing Body Mass Index (BMI), current smoking, decreasing daily step counts, increasing fasting glucose and higher thyroid stimulating hormone. Alcohol intake and blood pressure were not significant in either adjusted regression model.

Conclusion: Hypertriglyceridaemia ≥1.7mmol/L is common, affecting 24% of HCS. Clinical predictors identify modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular risk management. Clinician education to promote awareness is required to improve patient outcomes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Cross-sectional studies; Hyperlipidaemias; Hypertriglyceridaemia; Prevalence; Triglycerides.