Triglycerides Paradox Among the Oldest Old: "The Lower the Better?"

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVES: Currently, most treatment guidelines suggest lowering hypertriglyceridemia of any severity, even in elderly individuals. However associations of serum triglycerides (TGs) with adverse health and mortality risk decrease with age, it remains unclear among the oldest old (aged 80 years and older). The study was to investigate the relationship of serum TG concentrations with cognitive function, activities of daily living (ADLs), frailty, and mortality among the oldest old in a prospective cohort study. DESIGN: Longitudinal prospective cohort study. SETTING: Community-based setting in longevity areas in China. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 930 (mean age = 94.0 years) Chinese oldest old. MEASUREMENTS: The TG concentrations were measured at baseline survey in 2009. Cognitive function, ADLs, frailty, and mortality were determined over 5 years of follow-up. Cox proportional hazards models and competing risk models were performed to explore the association, adjusting for potential confounders. RESULTS: Each 1-mmol/L increase in TGs was associated with a nearly 20% lower risk of cognitive decline, ADL decline, and frailty aggravation during the 5 years of follow-up. Consistently, higher TGs (each 1 mmol/L) was associated with lower 5-year all-cause mortality after fully adjustment (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.69-0.89). Nonelevated TG concentrations (less than 2.26 mmol/L) were associated with higher mortality risk (HR = 1.72; 95% CI = 1.22-2.44), relative to TGs of 2.26 mmol/L or more. We observed similar results regarding TG concentrations and mortality in 1-year lag analysis and when excluding participants with identified chronic disease. CONCLUSION: In the oldest old, a higher concentration of TGs was associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline, ADL decline, frailty aggravation, and mortality. This paradox suggests the clinical importance of revisiting the concept of "the lower the better" for the oldest old. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:741-748, 2019.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lv, Y-B; Mao, C; Gao, X; Yin, Z-X; Kraus, VB; Yuan, J-Q; Zhang, J; Luo, J-S; Zeng, Y; Shi, X-M

Published Date

  • April 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 67 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 741 - 748

PubMed ID

  • 30628728

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6458070

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-5415

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/jgs.15733


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States