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Perm J. 2015 Fall;19(4):4-10. doi: 10.7812/TPP/14-237.

Study of the Use of Lipid Panels as a Marker of Insulin Resistance to Determine Cardiovascular Risk.

Author information

1
Hospitalist at the Sacramento Medical Center in CA. ruth.ann.bertsch@kp.org.
2
Senior Data Consultant in the Division of Research in Oakland, CA. maqdooda.merchant@kp.org.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

When assessing the lipid panel, practical physicians tend to focus on the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c). However, an elevated triglyceride/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) ratio, suggesting insulin resistance, also effectively predicts cardiovascular outcomes but requires different treatments than an elevated LDL-c. We tested whether high triglyceride/HDL-c ratios are associated with more risk than high LDL-c concentrations or other lipid markers of atherogenicity.

METHODS:

We followed 103,646 members aged 50 to 75 years without cardiovascular disease or diabetes in a community health plan. Subjects were categorized as insulin sensitive or insulin resistant on the basis of triglyceride and HDL-c in the index year. The primary outcome was ischemic heart disease. The percentage of subjects with a primary outcome after 8 years was stratified by insulin category, lipid measures, and blood pressure. Hazard ratios (HR) for insulin resistance, LDL-c, age, sex, and the presence of hypertension were determined in a multivariate analysis.

RESULTS:

Subjects with insulin resistance but lipid measures healthier than the median had worse outcomes than those who were insulin sensitive but had unhealthier lipid measures such as non-HDL-c and the ratios of total cholesterol/HDL-c and LDL-c/HDL-c. The HR for a 60 mg/dL increase in LDL-c was 1.14 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.10-1.18); the HR for an LDL-c greater than 160 mg/dL was 1.19 (95% CI, 1.12-1.28). In contrast, the hazard ratio for having an insulin-resistant triglyceride/HDL-c ratio was 1.68 (95% CI, 1.57-1.80), compared with an insulin-sensitive ratio. There was no difference in outcomes between insulin-resistant but normotensive patients and insulin-sensitive but hypertensive patients.

CONCLUSION:

Insulin resistance, as manifested by a high triglyceride/HDL-c ratio, was associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes more than other lipid metrics, including LDL-c, which had little concordance. Physicians and patients should not overlook the triglyceride/HDL-c ratio.

PMID:
26517432
PMCID:
PMC4625988
DOI:
10.7812/TPP/14-237
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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