JOURNAL ARTICLE

Low-grade albuminuria is associated with early but not late carotid atherosclerotic lesions in community-based patients with type 2 diabetes

Mei-Fang Li, Yin-Fang Tu, Lian-Xi Li, Jun-Xi Lu, Xue-Hong Dong, Li-Bo Yu, Rong Zhang, Yu-Qian Bao, Wei-Ping Jia, Ren-Ming Hu
Cardiovascular Diabetology 2013, 12: 110
23883448

BACKGROUND: Low-grade albuminuria is associated with cardiovascular risk factors and mortality. Our aim was to investigate the association between low-grade albuminuria and carotid atherosclerotic lesions in community-based patients with type 2 diabetes.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was performed in 475 community-based patients with type 2 diabetes (190 males and 285 females) with normal urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratios (UACR) (< 3.5 mg/mmol) from Shanghai, China. The subjects were stratified into tertiles based on UACR levels (the lowest tertile was UACR ≤ 1.19 mg/mmol, and the highest tertile was UACR ≥ 2 mg/mmol). Carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), carotid atherosclerotic plaque formation and stenosis were assessed and compared among the three groups based on ultrasonography. The urinary albumin excretion rate was determined as the mean of the values obtained from three separate early morning urine samples.

RESULTS: Compared with the subjects with UACR in the lowest tertile, the subjects with UACR in the middle and highest tertiles had greater CIMT values (0.88 ± 0.35 mm, 0.99 ± 0.43 mm and 1.04 ± 0.35 mm, respectively; all p < 0.05) and a higher prevalence of carotid atherosclerotic plaques (25.3%, 39.0% and 46.2%, respectively; all p < 0.05) after adjusting for sex and age. Fully adjusted multiple linear regression and logistic regression analyses revealed that UACR tertiles were significantly associated with elevated CIMT (p = 0.007) and that, compared with the subjects in the first tertile of UACR, those in the second and third tertiles had 1.878- and 2.028-fold risk of carotid plaques, respectively. However, there was no statistical association between UACR tertile and the prevalence of carotid stenosis.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher UACR within the normal range was independently associated with early but not late carotid atherosclerotic lesions in community-based patients with type 2 diabetes. Low-grade albuminuria contributes to the risk of carotid atherosclerosis and may be used as an early marker for the detection of atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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