Prevalence of carotid atherosclerosis and serum cholesterol levels in eastern Finland.
We investigated the prevalence of carotid atherosclerosis and its association with serum lipoprotein cholesterol fractions in 412 Eastern Finnish men ages 42, 48, 54, or 60 years who were examined between February and December 1987 in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Carotid atherosclerosis was assessed with high-resolution B-mode ultrasonography. Of the participants, 37% had thickening of the intimal or medial layer of the arterial wall, 10% had plaques, 2% had stenosis in the right or left common carotid artery or in the carotid bifurcation, and only 51% were free of any detectable carotid atherosclerosis. The prevalence of atherosclerosis was 14.1%, 32.0%, 67.7%, and 81.9% in the four age groups, respectively. The mean age-adjusted serum low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentration was 3.67 mmol/l (142 mg/dl) in men free of carotid atherosclerosis and 4.02 mmol/l (155 mg/dl) in those with at least intimal thickening (p = 0.003 for difference). The mean age-adjusted serum cholesterol concentration in the high density lipoprotein (HDL) fraction was 1.34 mmol/l (52 mg/dl) in the atherosclerosis-free and 1.27 mmol/l (49 mg/dl) in the atherosclerotic men (p = 0.029 for difference). There was a similar difference in both the serum HDL2 and the HDL3 cholesterol levels. Serum LDL and HDL (inverse) cholesterol were significant determinants of severity of carotid atherosclerosis in a multivariate regression model adjusting for age, obesity, plasma fibrinogen, cigarette-years, and duration of hypertension. Our data reveal the high prevalence of atherosclerosis in middle-aged Eastern Finnish men and provide further evidence of the roles of LDL and HDL cholesterol in atherosclerosis.
- Copyright © 1988 by American Heart Association