Epidemiol Health.  2021;43(1):e2021042. 10.4178/epih.e2021042.

Stressful life events and serum triglyceride levels: the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Etiology Research Center cohort in Korea

  • 1Department of Public Health, Graduate School, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Etiology Research Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Elevated serum triglyceride levels are a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease. A number of studies have demonstrated a positive association between psychological stress and serum triglyceride levels. However, there is limited evidence regarding the impact of stressful life events (SLEs) on serum triglyceride levels in the healthy population. Therefore, we evaluated the independent association between SLEs and serum triglyceride levels in a middle-aged Korean population.
We analyzed a sample of 2,963 people (aged 30-64 years; 36% men) using baseline data from the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Etiology Research Center (CMERC) cohort study. The Korean version of the Life Experience Survey questionnaire was used to measure the presence and positive/negative impact of SLEs. Hypertriglyceridemia was defined as a fasting serum triglyceride level of ≥ 150 mg/dL.
Of the 2,963 participants, 33.1% reported at least 1 SLE over the past 6 months and 24.8% had hypertriglyceridemia. Even after adjusting for potential confounders, the serum triglyceride level was significantly associated with the total number of SLEs in men (3.333 mg/dL per event; p= 0.001), but not in women (0.451 mg/dL per event, p= 0.338). Hypertriglyceridemia was also associated with having 4 or more SLEs with positive effects (odds ratio [OR], 2.57; 95% CI, 1.02 to 6.46) and 4 or more SLEs with negative effects (OR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.16 to 3.41) in men.
Our findings suggest that SLEs may increase the risk of hypertriglyceridemia in middle-aged men.


Psychological stress, Lipids, Hypertriglyceridemia
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