Objective To examine the impact of multiple cardiovascular (C-V) risk factors on the femoral artery intima-media thickness (IMT) in asymptomatic young adults in a biracial (black-white) population.
Methods Femoral IMT was measured by B-mode ultrasonography in 1080 individuals (aged 24-43 years; 71% white, 43% male) participating in the Bogalusa Heart Study.
Results Age-adjusted femoral IMT showed gender difference among whites only (males > females, p = .001); no race difference in both genders. In a bivariate analysis adjusted for age, race, and gender, IMT related significantly to BMI, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (inverse relation), total to HDL cholesterol ratio and triglycerides; no association was noted with insulin and glucose. In a multivariate model systolic blood pressure, age, male gender, cigarette smoking, and total to HDL cholesterol ratio related independently, in that order, to IMT. Mean IMT increased with increasing number of risk factors defined as values above the age-, race-, and gender-specific 75th percentile of systolic blood pressure, waist circumference, total to HDL cholesterol ratio and insulin along with smoking status (p for trend = .003), with respective mean IMT (mm) values of 0.66, 0.69, 0.73, and 0.79, for 0, 1-2, 3, and 4-5 risk factors. Individuals with 3 or more risk factors compared to no risk factors are five times (OR = 4.7, p = .01) more likely to be in the top 5th percentile of IMT distribution.
Conclusions The observed increasing trend of femoral IMT with increasing number of risk factors in asymptomatic young individuals underscores the need for multiple risk factors profiling in early life. Further ultrasonography of femoral artery in conjunction with multiple risk factor profiling may be helpful in risk stratification.
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