Risk factors for the progression of early carotid atherosclerosis in a male working population

Koji Fujii, Isao Abe, Yusuke Ohya, Yuko Ohta, Hisatomi Arima, Takashi Akasaki, Mototaka Yoshinari, Mitsuo Iida
Hypertension Research: Official Journal of the Japanese Society of Hypertension 2003, 26 (6): 465-71
Increased intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid artery may represent early atherosclerosis. Although several studies have evaluated risk factors for carotid IMT, only limited information is available concerning risk factors for the progression of carotid IMT. The present study was designed to determine risk factors for the progression of carotid IMT in a male working population. Male employees of a regional transport company (n = 220, 50.9 +/- 4.4 years) underwent baseline physical and laboratory examinations, and ultrasonographic assessment of the maximum common carotid IMT between 1992 and 1994, and they were reexamined 5 years later. In a multivariate analysis at baseline, carotid IMT was positively associated with age, diastolic blood pressure and total cholesterol, and negatively with high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. During the follow-up period, carotid IMT increased from 0.669 +/- 0.135 mm to 0.784 +/- 0.229 mm, or at a rate of 0.023 +/- 0.039 mm/year. In a multivariate regression analysis using baseline values of carotid IMT, age, body mass index, diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and HbA1c as independent variables, the progression of carotid IMT was associated only with baseline total cholesterol. These findings suggest that in middle-aged men, although age, blood pressure, and total cholesterol were associated with baseline carotid IMT, total cholesterol level appeared to be the strongest determinant of the progression of carotid IMT, a result which underscores the importance of maintaining lower cholesterol levels to prevent early atherosclerosis.

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