[Associations between carotid intima-media thickness, plaque and cardiovascular risk factors]

Young-Hoon Lee, Lian-Hua Cui, Min-Ho Shin, Sun-Seog Kweon, Kyeong-Soo Park, Seul-Ki Jeong, Eun-Kyung Chung, Jin-Su Choi
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 2006, 39 (6): 477-84

OBJECTIVES: This study was conducted to examine the association between the carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT), plaque and cardiovascular risk factors according to gender and age.

METHODS: The data used for this study were obtained from 1,507 subjects (691 men, 816 women), aged 20-74 years, who participated in 'Prevalence study of thyroid diseases' in two counties of Jeollanam-do Province during July and August of 2004. The body mass index (BMI) and waist hip ratio (WHR) were calculated by anthropometry. The blood pressure, pulse rate, pulse pressure, total cholesterol, triglyceride, HDL cholesterol and fasting blood sugar level were also measured. Ultrasonography was used to measure the carotid artery IMT and plaque. IMT measurements were performed at 6 sites, including both common carotid arteries, and the bulb and internal carotid arteries. The definition of the 'mean IMT' was mean value obtained from these 6 sites.

RESULTS: The mean+/- standard deviation IMT values were 0.65+/-0.14 and 0.60+/-0.13 mm in men and women (p<0.001), respectively. The data were analyzed according to gender and the 50 year age groups. In a multiple linear regression analysis, age and hypertension were positively associated with the mean IMT in both men and women, aged<50 years. Age, total cholesterol and smoking (current) were positively associated with the mean IMT in men (-50 years). Age was positively associated with the mean IMT in women (> or = 50 years), but the HDL cholesterol level was negatively associated. The prevalence of plaques was 44.2%(196/443) in men and 19.4%(89/459) in women, for those greater than 50 years of age. In a multiple logistic regression analysis, age (OR=1.090, 95%CI=1.053-1.129), HDL cholesterol (OR=0.964, 95%CI=0.944-0.984), total cholesterol (OR=1.009, 95%CI=1.002-1.017)and BMI (OR=0.896, 95%CI=0.8180.983) were independently associated with plaques in men; whereas, age (OR=1.057, 95%CI=1.012-1.103), HDL cholesterol (OR=0.959, 95%CI=0.932-0.986), pulse pressure (OR=1.029, 95%CI=1.007-1.050) and triglycerides (OR=0.531, 95%Cl=0.300-0.941) were independently associated with plaques in women.

CONCLUSIONS: There were significant gender and aging differences in the association between the IMT, plaque and cardiovascular risk factors. Therefore, for the prevention of atherosclerosis, selective approaches should be considered with regard to gender and age factors.

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