JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Microalbuminuria, cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular morbidity in a British population: the EPIC-Norfolk population-based study.

BACKGROUND: Microalbuminuria is independently associated with increased cardiovascular risk and renal function deterioration in diabetes and hypertension, but the clinical relevance of raised albuminuria in the general population is less certain. We examined the prevalence of microalbuminuria and its relationship to cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular morbidity in the UK general population.

METHODS: Cross-sectional population-based study of 23,964 individuals, aged 40-79 years recruited in 1993-1997 for the EPIC-Norfolk Study. Smoking status, prevalent physician diagnosed diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer were derived from a health and lifestyle questionnaire. Albumin-to-creatinine ratios were estimated from random spot urine specimens collected at the survey visit, and using these ratios participants were categorized into normoalbuminuria, microalbuminuria (2.5-25 mg/mmol), and macroalbuminuria.

RESULTS: The prevalence of microalbuminuria and macroalbuminuria was 11.8% and 0.9% respectively in the total population and significantly higher in women (14.4%) compared with men (8.9%) (P<0.001). Independent determinants of microalbuminuria were age, sex, systolic blood pressure and current smoking. Microalbuminuria was independently associated with cardiovascular morbidity, after adjusting for known cardiovascular risk factors, with odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for prevalent cardiovascular disease of 1.30 (1.12-1.51) in all men and women.

CONCLUSION: Microalbuminuria was present in approximately 12% of this population. It was independently associated with cardiovascular risk factors and prevalent cardiovascular disease. Microalbuminuria may be a useful indicator of high absolute cardiovascular risk in the community but prospective data are needed to establish its independent predictive value for future events.

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