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1.  Trends in Prevalence of Dyslipidaemias and the Risk of Mortality in Lithuanian Urban Population Aged 45–64 in Relation to the Presence of the Dyslipidaemias and the Other Cardiovascular Risk Factors 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100158.
The aim of this study was to provide reliable information on dyslipidaemias, to estimate the trend of the prevalence of dyslipidaemias and other selected cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors at population level, and to evaluate the risk of all-cause and CVD mortality in relation to presence of mixed dyslipidaemias and other CVD risk factors.
Methods
Data from the five surveys (1983–2008) are presented. A random sample of 9,209 subjects aged 45–64 was selected for statistical analysis. During follow-up there were 1653 death cases from any cause, 864 deaths from CVD. Estimates of hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were based on the multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression for all-cause mortality and CVD mortality.
Results
During 25 year period the prevalence of normal total cholesterol level (<5.2 mmol/L) significantly increased only in women; triglycerides and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol did not change in men and women. Findings in our longitudinal study showed that in men and women mixed dyslipidaemias (HDL cholesterol <1.03 mmol/L plus triglycerides ≥1.70 mmol/L) significantly increased the risk for all-cause and CVD mortality (respectively in men HR = 1.30; HR = 1.15, in women HR = 1.83; HR = 2.13). These mixed dyslipidaemia combinations combination with the other risk factors such as arterial hypertension, high fasting glucose level increased all-cause and CVD mortality risk in men and women; while, these mixed dyslipidaemias plus smoking increased all-cause and CVD mortality risk only in men compared to never smokers without these dyslipidaemias (respectively HR = 1.89; HR = 1.92); and these dyslipidaemias plus obesity increased all-cause and CVD mortality risk in women (respectively HR = 2.25; HR = 2.39) and CVD mortality risk in men (HR = 1.72), as compared to responders without obesity and these dyslipidaemias.
Conclusion
Mixed dyslipidaemias (reduced HDL cholesterol plus elevated triglycerides) significantly increased the risk for all-cause and CVD mortality in this Lithuanian population aged 45–64 years.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100158
PMCID: PMC4067295  PMID: 24955583
2.  Accessibility and use of urban green spaces, and cardiovascular health: findings from a Kaunas cohort study 
Environmental Health  2014;13:20.
Background
The aims of this study were to explore associations of the distance and use of urban green spaces with the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and its risk factors, and to evaluate the impact of the accessibility and use of green spaces on the incidence of CVD among the population of Kaunas city (Lithuania).
Methods
We present the results from a Kaunas cohort study on the access to and use of green spaces, the association with cardiovascular risk factors and other health-related variables, and the risk of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. A random sample of 5,112 individuals aged 45-72 years was screened in 2006-2008. During the mean 4.41 years follow-up, there were 83 deaths from CVD and 364 non-fatal cases of CVD among persons free from CHD and stroke at the baseline survey. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression models were used for data analysis.
Results
We found that the distance from people’s residence to green spaces was not related to the prevalence of health-related variables. However, the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and the prevalence of diabetes mellitus were significantly lower among park users than among non-users. During the follow up, an increased risk of non-fatal and fatal CVD combined was observed for those who lived ≥629.61 m from green spaces (3rd tertile of distance to green space) (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.36), and the risk for non-fatal CVD–for those who lived ≥347.81 m (2nd and 3rd tertile) and were not park users (HR = 1.66) as compared to men and women who lived 347.8 m or less (1st tertile) from green space. Men living further away from parks (3rd tertile) had a higher risk of non-fatal and fatal CVD combined, compared to those living nearby (1st tertile) (HR = 1.51). Compared to park users living nearby (1st tertile), a statistically significantly increased risk of non-fatal CVD was observed for women who were not park users and living farther away from parks (2nd and 3rd tertile) (HR = 2.78).
Conclusion
Our analysis suggests public health policies aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles in urban settings could produce cardiovascular benefits.
doi:10.1186/1476-069X-13-20
PMCID: PMC4000006  PMID: 24645935
Green spaces; Cardiovascular diseases; Risk factors
3.  Are Markers of Inflammation More Strongly Associated with Risk for Fatal Than for Nonfatal Vascular Events? 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(6):e1000099.
In a secondary analysis of a randomized trial comparing pravastatin versus placebo for the prevention of coronary and cerebral events in an elderly at-risk population, Naveed Sattar and colleagues find that inflammatory markers may be more strongly associated with risk of fatal vascular events than nonfatal vascular events.
Background
Circulating inflammatory markers may more strongly relate to risk of fatal versus nonfatal cardiovascular disease (CVD) events, but robust prospective evidence is lacking. We tested whether interleukin (IL)-6, C-reactive protein (CRP), and fibrinogen more strongly associate with fatal compared to nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke.
Methods and Findings
In the Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER), baseline inflammatory markers in up to 5,680 men and women aged 70–82 y were related to risk for endpoints; nonfatal CVD (i.e., nonfatal MI and nonfatal stroke [n = 672]), fatal CVD (n = 190), death from other CV causes (n = 38), and non-CVD mortality (n = 300), over 3.2-y follow-up. Elevations in baseline IL-6 levels were significantly (p = 0.0009; competing risks model analysis) more strongly associated with fatal CVD (hazard ratio [HR] for 1 log unit increase in IL-6 1.75, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.44–2.12) than with risk of nonfatal CVD (1.17, 95% CI 1.04–1.31), in analyses adjusted for treatment allocation. The findings were consistent in a fully adjusted model. These broad trends were similar for CRP and, to a lesser extent, for fibrinogen. The results were also similar in placebo and statin recipients (i.e., no interaction). The C-statistic for fatal CVD using traditional risk factors was significantly (+0.017; p<0.0001) improved by inclusion of IL-6 but not so for nonfatal CVD events (p = 0.20).
Conclusions
In PROSPER, inflammatory markers, in particular IL-6 and CRP, are more strongly associated with risk of fatal vascular events than nonfatal vascular events. These novel observations may have important implications for better understanding aetiology of CVD mortality, and have potential clinical relevance.
Please see later in the article for Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Cardiovascular disease (CVD)—disease that affects the heart and/or the blood vessels—is a common cause of death in developed countries. In the USA, for example, the leading cause of death is coronary heart disease (CHD), a CVD in which narrowing of the heart's blood vessels by “atherosclerotic plaques” (fatty deposits that build up with age) slows the blood supply to the heart and may eventually cause a heart attack (myocardial infarction). Other types of CVD include stroke (in which atherosclerotic plaques interrupt the brain's blood supply) and heart failure (a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body). Smoking, high blood pressure, high blood levels of cholesterol (a type of fat), having diabetes, and being overweight all increase a person's risk of developing CVD. Tools such as the “Framingham risk calculator” take these and other risk factors into account to assess an individual's overall risk of CVD, which can be reduced by taking drugs to reduce blood pressure or cholesterol levels (for example, pravastatin) and by making lifestyle changes.
Why Was This Study Done?
Inflammation (an immune response to injury) in the walls of blood vessels is thought to play a role in the development of atherosclerotic plaques. Consistent with this idea, several epidemiological studies (investigations of the causes and distribution of disease in populations) have shown that people with high circulating levels of markers of inflammation such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP), and fibrinogen are more likely to have a stroke or a heart attack (a CVD event) than people with low levels of these markers. Although these studies have generally lumped together fatal and nonfatal CVD events, some evidence suggests that circulating inflammatory markers may be more strongly associated with fatal than with nonfatal CVD events. If this is the case, the mechanisms that lead to fatal and nonfatal CVD events may be subtly different and knowing about these differences could improve both the prevention and treatment of CVD. In this study, the researchers investigate this possibility using data collected in the Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER; a trial that examined pravastatin's effect on CVD development among 70–82 year olds with pre-existing CVD or an increased risk of CVD because of smoking, high blood pressure, or diabetes).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used several statistical models to examine the association between baseline levels of IL-6, CRP, and fibrinogen in the trial participants and nonfatal CVD events (nonfatal heart attacks and nonfatal strokes), fatal CVD events, death from other types of CVD, and deaths from other causes during 3.2 years of follow-up. Increased levels of all three inflammatory markers were more strongly associated with fatal CVD than with nonfatal CVD after adjustment for treatment allocation and for other established CVD risk factors but this pattern was strongest for IL-6. Thus, a unit increase in the log of IL-6 levels increased the risk of fatal CVD by half but increased the risk of nonfatal CVD by significantly less. The researchers also investigated whether including these inflammatory markers in tools designed to predict an individual's CVD risk could improve the tool's ability to distinguish between individuals with a high and low risk. The addition of IL-6 to established risk factors, they report, increased this discriminatory ability for fatal CVD but not for nonfatal CVD.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, at least for the elderly at-risk patients who were included in PROSPER, inflammatory markers are more strongly associated with the risk of a fatal heart attack or stroke than with nonfatal CVD events. These findings need to be confirmed in younger populations and larger studies also need to be done to discover whether the same association holds when fatal heart attacks and fatal strokes are considered separately. Nevertheless, the present findings suggest that inflammation may specifically help to promote the development of serious, potentially fatal CVD and should stimulate improved research into the use of inflammation markers to predict risk of deaths from CVD.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000099.
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has pages on coronary heart disease, stroke, and atherosclerosis (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to many other sources of information on heart diseases, vascular diseases, and stroke (in English and Spanish)
Information for patients and caregivers is provided by the American Heart Association on all aspects of cardiovascular disease, including information on inflammation and heart disease
Information is available from the British Heart Foundation on heart disease and keeping the heart healthy
More information about PROSPER is available on the Web site of the Vascular Biochemistry Department of the University of Glasgow
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000099
PMCID: PMC2694359  PMID: 19554082
4.  Mortality in Pharmacologically Treated Older Adults with Diabetes: The Cardiovascular Health Study, 1989–2001 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(10):e400.
Background
Diabetes mellitus (DM) confers an increased risk of mortality in young and middle-aged individuals and in women. It is uncertain, however, whether excess DM mortality continues beyond age 75 years, is related to type of hypoglycemic therapy, and whether women continue to be disproportionately affected by DM into older age.
Methods and Findings
From the Cardiovascular Health Study, a prospective study of 5,888 adults, we examined 5,372 participants aged 65 y or above without DM (91.2%), 322 with DM treated with oral hypoglycemic agents (OHGAs) (5.5%), and 194 with DM treated with insulin (3.3%). Participants were followed (1989–2001) for total, cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease (CHD), and non-CVD/noncancer mortality. Compared with non-DM participants, those treated with OHGAs or insulin had adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for total mortality of 1.33 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.10 to 1.62) and 2.04 (95% CI, 1.62 to 2.57); CVD mortality, 1.99 (95% CI, 1.54 to 2.57) and 2.16 (95% CI, 1.54 to 3.03); CHD mortality, 2.47 (95% CI, 1.89 to 3.24) and 2.75 (95% CI, 1.95 to 3.87); and infectious and renal mortality, 1.35 (95% CI, 0.70 to 2.59) and 6.55 (95% CI, 4.18 to 10.26), respectively. The interaction of age (65–74 y versus ≥75 y) with DM was not significant. Women treated with OHGAs had a similar HR for total mortality to men, but a higher HR when treated with insulin.
Conclusions
DM mortality risk remains high among older adults in the current era of medical care. Mortality risk and type of mortality differ between OHGA and insulin treatment. Women treated with insulin therapy have an especially high mortality risk. Given the high absolute CVD mortality in older people, those with DM warrant aggressive CVD risk factor reduction.
The negative impact on mortality of diabetes persists into old age. Elderly people with diabetes might be twice as likely to die from CVD as people without diabetes. More aggressive treatment of CVD risk factors in older patients should be considered.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Diabetes is a growing global health problem. By 2030, 300 million people worldwide may have this chronic, incurable disorder, double the current number. People with diabetes have dangerously high amounts of sugar in their blood. Blood-sugar levels are normally controlled by insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas that tells cells to absorb sugar from the blood. This control fails in people with diabetes, either because they make no insulin (type 1 diabetes) or because their cells are insensitive to insulin (type 2 diabetes). Type 1 diabetes is controlled with insulin injections; type 2 diabetes is controlled with diet, exercise, and pills that reduce blood-sugar levels. Long-term complications of diabetes include kidney failure, blindness, and nerve damage. Individuals with diabetes also have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD)—heart problems, strokes, and poor circulation—because of damage to their blood vessels.
Why Was This Study Done?
Epidemiological studies (investigations of disease patterns, causes, and control in populations) have indicated that diabetes increases the risk of death (mortality) from CVD in young and middle-aged people, but it is not known whether this is also true for old people. It is also not known what effect long-term treatment for diabetes has on mortality or whether the risk of death from CVD is decreasing in diabetic people as it is in the general US population. This information would help physicians provide health care and lifestyle advice to people with diabetes. In this study, the researchers have investigated mortality patterns in elderly diabetic people by looking at data collected between 1989 and 2001 by the US Cardiovascular Health Study, an observational study of nearly 6,000 people aged over 65 years (in this type of study participants are observed without imposing any specific changes to their lifestyle, behavior, medical care, or treatments).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Participants were screened at the start of the Cardiovascular Health Study for CVD and diabetes (defined as drug-treated disease), for established CVD risk factors such as high blood pressure and smoking, for recently recognized CVD risk factors (for example, subclinical CVD), and for psychosocial factors associated with diabetes that might influence mortality, such as frailty and depression. At this time, about 5% of the participants were taking oral hypoglycemic agents for diabetes and about 3% were taking insulin. During the 11-year study, 40% of the participants died. After adjusting for CVD risk factors and psychosocial factors, the researchers calculated that people treated with oral hypoglycemic agents were 1.3 times as likely to die from all causes and people treated with insulin were twice as likely to die as people without diabetes. The risk of death from CVD was about twice as high in both groups of diabetic participants as in non-diabetic participants; the risk of death from coronary heart disease was increased about 2.5-fold. These adjusted relative risks are very similar to those found in previous studies. The researchers also report that participants treated with insulin were six times more likely to die from infectious diseases or renal failure than nondiabetic participants, and women treated with insulin had a particularly high mortality risk.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the negative impact on mortality of diabetes persists into old age and that death from CVD is currently declining in both older diabetic people and nondiabetic people. In addition, they show that diabetic people treated with insulin are at a greater risk of dying relative to people without diabetes and those taking oral hypoglycemic agents. This might reflect the type of diabetes that these people had, but this was not investigated. How long participants had had diabetes was also not considered, nor how many people developed diabetes during the study. These and other limitations might mean that the reported excess mortality due to diabetes is an underestimate. Nevertheless, the estimate that elderly people with diabetes are twice as likely to die from CVD as people without diabetes is important. Many elderly people die anyway because of CVD, so this increased risk represents many more deaths than the similar increased risk in younger diabetic populations. Yet, elderly people often receive less-intensive management of CVD risk factors than younger people. The results of this study suggest that rectifying this situation could prolong the lives of many elderly people with diabetes.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030400.
MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on diabetes, heart disease, stroke and poor circulation
The US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides patient information on diabetes
Information for patients on prevention, diagnosis, and management of diabetes is available from the America Diabetes Association
Patient information is available from the American Heart Association on all aspects of heart disease, including its association with diabetes
Wikipedia pages on diabetes and cardiovascular disease (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
Further information is available about the Cardiovascular Health Study
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030400
PMCID: PMC1609124  PMID: 17048978
5.  Prevalence of Major Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Cardiovascular Diseases Among Hispanic/Latino Individuals of Diverse Backgrounds in the United States 
Context
Major cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are leading causes of mortality among US Hispanic and Latino individuals. Comprehensive data are limited regarding the prevalence of CVD risk factors in this population and relations of these traits to socioeconomic status (SES) and acculturation.
Objectives
To describe prevalence of major CVD risk factors and CVD (coronary heart disease [CHD] and stroke) among US Hispanic/Latino individuals of different backgrounds, examine relationships of SES and acculturation with CVD risk profiles and CVD, and assess cross-sectional associations of CVD risk factors with CVD.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Multicenter, prospective, population-based Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos including individuals of Cuban (n =2201), Dominican (n = 1400), Mexican (n=6232), Puerto Rican (n=2590), Central American (n=1634), and South American backgrounds (n = 1022) aged 18 to 74 years. Analyses involved 15 079 participants with complete data enrolled between March 2008 and June 2011.
Main Outcome Measures
Adverse CVD risk factors defined using national guidelines for hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and smoking. Prevalence of CHD and stroke were ascertained from self-reported data.
Results
Age-standardized prevalence of CVD risk factors varied by Hispanic/Latino background; obesity and current smoking rates were highest among Puerto Rican participants (for men, 40.9% and 34.7%; for women, 51.4% and 31.7%, respectively); hypercholesterolemia prevalence was highest among Central American men (54.9%) and Puerto Rican women (41.0%). Large proportions of participants (80% of men, 71% of women) had at least 1 risk factor. Age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of 3 or more risk factors was highest in Puerto Rican participants (25.0%) and significantly higher (P<.001) among participants with less education (16.1%), those who were US-born (18.5%), those who had lived in the United States 10 years or longer (15.7%), and those who preferred English (17.9%). Overall, self-reported CHD and stroke prevalence were low (4.2% and 2.0% in men; 2.4% and 1.2% in women, respectively). In multivariate-adjusted models, hypertension and smoking were directly associated with CHD in both sexes as were hypercholesterolemia and obesity in women and diabetes in men (odds ratios [ORs], 1.5–2.2). For stroke, associations were positive with hypertension in both sexes, diabetes in men, and smoking in women (ORs, 1.7–2.6).
Conclusion
Among US Hispanic/Latino adults of diverse backgrounds, a sizeable proportion of men and women had adverse major risk factors; prevalence of adverse CVD risk profiles was higher among participants with Puerto Rican background, lower SES, and higher levels of acculturation.
doi:10.1001/jama.2012.14517
PMCID: PMC3777250  PMID: 23117778
6.  Age- and gender-specific population attributable risks of metabolic disorders on all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in Taiwan 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:111.
Background
The extent of attributable risks of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its components on mortality remains unclear, especially with respect to age and gender. We aimed to assess the age- and gender-specific population attributable risks (PARs) for cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related mortality and all-cause mortality for public health planning.
Methods
A total of 2,092 men and 2,197 women 30 years of age and older, who were included in the 2002 Taiwan Survey of Hypertension, Hyperglycemia, and Hyperlipidemia (TwSHHH), were linked to national death certificates acquired through December 31, 2009. Cox proportional hazard models were used to calculate adjusted hazard ratios and PARs for mortality, with a median follow-up of 7.7 years.
Results
The respective PAR percentages of MetS for all-cause and CVD-related mortality were 11.6 and 39.2 in men, respectively, and 18.6 and 44.4 in women, respectively. Central obesity had the highest PAR for CVD mortality in women (57.5%), whereas arterial hypertension had the highest PAR in men (57.5%). For all-cause mortality, younger men and post-menopausal women had higher PARs related to Mets and its components; for CVD mortality, post-menopausal women had higher overall PARs than their pre-menopausal counterparts.
Conclusions
MetS has a limited application to the PAR for all-cause mortality, especially in men; its PAR for CVD mortality is more evident. For CVD mortality, MetS components have higher PARs than MetS itself, especially hypertension in men and waist circumference in post-menopausal women. In addition, PARs for diabetes mellitus and low HDL-cholesterol may exceed 20%. We suggest differential control of risk factors in different subpopulation as a strategy to prevent CVD-related mortality.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-111
PMCID: PMC3305485  PMID: 22321049
7.  The Reversal of Fortunes: Trends in County Mortality and Cross-County Mortality Disparities in the United States  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(4):e66.
Background
Counties are the smallest unit for which mortality data are routinely available, allowing consistent and comparable long-term analysis of trends in health disparities. Average life expectancy has steadily increased in the United States but there is limited information on long-term mortality trends in the US counties This study aimed to investigate trends in county mortality and cross-county mortality disparities, including the contributions of specific diseases to county level mortality trends.
Methods and Findings
We used mortality statistics (from the National Center for Health Statistics [NCHS]) and population (from the US Census) to estimate sex-specific life expectancy for US counties for every year between 1961 and 1999. Data for analyses in subsequent years were not provided to us by the NCHS. We calculated different metrics of cross-county mortality disparity, and also grouped counties on the basis of whether their mortality changed favorably or unfavorably relative to the national average. We estimated the probability of death from specific diseases for counties with above- or below-average mortality performance. We simulated the effect of cross-county migration on each county's life expectancy using a time-based simulation model. Between 1961 and 1999, the standard deviation (SD) of life expectancy across US counties was at its lowest in 1983, at 1.9 and 1.4 y for men and women, respectively. Cross-county life expectancy SD increased to 2.3 and 1.7 y in 1999. Between 1961 and 1983 no counties had a statistically significant increase in mortality; the major cause of mortality decline for both sexes was reduction in cardiovascular mortality. From 1983 to 1999, life expectancy declined significantly in 11 counties for men (by 1.3 y) and in 180 counties for women (by 1.3 y); another 48 (men) and 783 (women) counties had nonsignificant life expectancy decline. Life expectancy decline in both sexes was caused by increased mortality from lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and a range of other noncommunicable diseases, which were no longer compensated for by the decline in cardiovascular mortality. Higher HIV/AIDS and homicide deaths also contributed substantially to life expectancy decline for men, but not for women. Alternative specifications of the effects of migration showed that the rise in cross-county life expectancy SD was unlikely to be caused by migration.
Conclusions
There was a steady increase in mortality inequality across the US counties between 1983 and 1999, resulting from stagnation or increase in mortality among the worst-off segment of the population. Female mortality increased in a large number of counties, primarily because of chronic diseases related to smoking, overweight and obesity, and high blood pressure.
Majid Ezzati and colleagues analyze US county-level mortality data for 1961 to 1999, and find a steady increase in mortality inequality across counties between 1983 and 1999.
Editors' Summary
Background.
It has long been recognized that the number of years that distinct groups of people in the United States would be expected to live based on their current mortality patterns (“life expectancy”) varies enormously. For example, white Americans tend to live longer than black Americans, the poor tend to have shorter life expectancies than the wealthy, and women tend to outlive men. Where one lives might also be a factor that determines his or her life expectancy, because of social conditions and health programs in different parts of the country.
Why Was the Study Done?
While life expectancies have generally been rising across the United States over time, there is little information, especially over the long term, on the differences in life expectancies across different counties. The researchers therefore set out to examine whether there were different life expectancies across different US counties over the last four decades. The researchers chose to look at counties—the smallest geographic units for which data on death rates are collected in the US—because it allowed them to make comparisons between small subgroups of people that share the same administrative structure.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers looked at differences in death rates between all counties in US states plus the District of Columbia over four decades, from 1961 to 1999. They obtained the data on number of deaths from the National Center for Health Statistics, and they obtained data on the number of people living in each county from the US Census. The NCHS did not provide death data after 2001. They broke the death rates down by sex and by disease to assess trends over time for women and men, and for different causes of death.
Over these four decades, the researchers found that the overall US life expectancy increased from 67 to 74 years of age for men and from 74 to 80 years for women. Between 1961 and 1983 the death rate fell in both men and women, largely due to reductions in deaths from cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). During this same period, 1961–1983, the differences in death rates among/across different counties fell. However, beginning in the early 1980s the differences in death rates among/across different counties began to increase. The worst-off counties no longer experienced a fall in death rates, and in a substantial number of counties, mortality actually increased, especially for women, a shift that the researchers call “the reversal of fortunes.” This stagnation in the worst-off counties was primarily caused by a slowdown or halt in the reduction of deaths from cardiovascular disease coupled with a moderate rise in a number of other diseases, such as lung cancer, chronic lung disease, and diabetes, in both men and women, and a rise in HIV/AIDS and homicide in men. The researchers' key finding, therefore, was that the differences in life expectancy across different counties initially narrowed and then widened.
What Do these Findings Mean?
The findings suggest that beginning in the early 1980s and continuing through 1999 those who were already disadvantaged did not benefit from the gains in life expectancy experienced by the advantaged, and some became even worse off. The study emphasizes how important it is to monitor health inequalities between different groups, in order to ensure that everyone—and not just the well-off—can experience gains in life expectancy. Although the “reversal of fortune” that the researchers found applied to only a minority of the population, the authors argue that their study results are troubling because an oft-stated aim of the US health system is the improvement of the health of “all people, and especially those at greater risk of health disparities” (see, for example http://www.cdc.gov/osi/goals/SIHPGPostcard.pdf).
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050066.
A study by Nancy Krieger and colleagues, published in PLoS Medicine in February 2008, documented a similar “fall and rise” in health inequities. Krieger and colleagues reported that the difference in health between rich and poor and between different racial/ethnic groups, as measured by rates of dying young and of infant deaths, shrank in the US from 1966 to 1980 then widened from 1980 to 2002
Murray and colleagues, in a 2006 PLoS Medicine article, calculated US mortality rates according to “race-county” units and divided into the “eight Americas,” and found disparities in life expectancy across them
The US Centers for Disease Control has an Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities. The office “aims to accelerate CDC's health impact in the US population and to eliminate health disparities for vulnerable populations as defined by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geography, gender, age, disability status, risk status related to sex and gender, and among other populations identified to be at-risk for health disparities”
Wikipedia has a chapter on health disparities (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
In 2001 the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality sponsored a workshop on “strategies to reduce health disparities”
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050066
PMCID: PMC2323303  PMID: 18433290
8.  Survival in treated hypertension: follow up study after two decades 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1998;317(7152):167-171.
Objective: To compare survival and cause specific mortality in hypertensive men with non-hypertensive men derived from the same random population, and to study mortality and morbidity from cardiovascular diseases in the hypertensive men in relation to effects on cardiovascular risk factors during 22-23 years of follow up.
Design: Prospective, population based observational study.
Subjects and methods: 686 hypertensive men aged 47-55 at screening compared with 6810 non-hypertensive men. The hypertensive men were having stepped care treatment with either β adrenergic blocking drugs, thiazide diuretics, or combination treatment. Mortality, morbidity, and adverse effects were registered at yearly examinations and from death certificates.
Main outcome measures: All cause mortality and cause specific mortality.
Results: Treated hypertensive men had significantly impaired probability of total survival as well as survival from coronary heart disease and stroke. All cause mortality as well as coronary heart disease and stroke mortality were very similar in hypertensive men and normotensive men during the first decade, but increased steadily thereafter despite continuous good blood pressure control. Smoking, signs of target organ damage, and high serum cholesterol levels, but not blood pressure at screening, were significantly related to the incidence of coronary heart disease during follow up. In time dependent Cox’s regression analysis, the incidence of coronary heart disease was significantly related only to serum cholesterol concentrations in the study. Cancer mortality was almost similar in treated hypertensive men (61/686, 8.9%) and non-hypertensive men (732/6810, 10.8%).
Conclusion: Treated hypertensive men had impaired survival and increased mortality from cardiovascular disease compared with non-hypertensive men of similar age. These differences were observed during the second decade of follow up. During an observation period of 22-23 years—about 15 000 patient years—hypertensive men receiving diuretics and β blockers had no increased risk of cancer or non-cardiovascular disease.
Key messages Hypertension is a prevalent (10-20%) and important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In controlled trials over 3-5 years drug treatment for hypertension prevents these complications, but little is known about long term prognosis During 20-22 years treated hypertensive men had a significantly increased mortality, especially from coronary heart disease, compared with non-hypertensive men from the same population The high incidence of myocardial infarction was related to organ damage, smoking, and cholesterol at the time of entry to the study, and to achieved serum cholesterol concentrations during follow up The poor prognosis for mortality from coronary heart disease is dependent upon strict monitoring of serum cholesterol concentrations
PMCID: PMC28606  PMID: 9665894
9.  Living alone is a risk factor for mortality in men but not women from the general population: a prospective cohort study 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:335.
Background
During the past decades a rising trend of living alone can be observed in the population especially in urban areas. Living alone is considered a psychosocial risk factor. We studied the relationship between living alone, cardiovascular risk factors and mortality.
Methods
We analysed data from the population-based MONICA/KORA cohort study including 3596 men and 3420 women of at least one of three surveys carried out between 1984 and 1995 in the region of Augsburg, Germany. They were between 45 and 74 years old and were followed-up until 31 December 2002. During follow-up 811 men and 388 women died. Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to examine the association between living alone and mortality.
Results
Altogether 260 men (7%) and 620 women (18%) were living alone at baseline. Men, who lived alone, were less well educated, had fewer children and friends, and they smoked significantly more than other men. Women, living alone, were also significantly more often current smokers and had less children and friends, but they were more often better educated than cohabitating women. The latter group showed a higher proportion of obese and hypertensive women. Men living alone had a twofold risk to die after multivariable adjustment (hazard ratio = 1.96; p < 0.0001; 95% confidence interval 1.56–2.46). This was not the case for women.
Conclusion
Living alone is an independent risk factor for mortality in men. It is unclear whether living alone causes an increased mortality or whether predisposition for increased mortality is responsible for men living alone.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-335
PMCID: PMC2225416  PMID: 18336722
10.  Association of Early Repolarization Pattern on ECG with Risk of Cardiac and All-Cause Mortality: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study (MONICA/KORA) 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(7):e1000314.
In a population-based cohort study of middle-aged people in Central Europe, Stefan Kääb and colleagues find an association between electrocardiographic early repolarization pattern and mortality risk.
Background
Early repolarization pattern (ERP) on electrocardiogram was associated with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac arrest in a case-control study and with cardiovascular mortality in a Finnish community-based sample. We sought to determine ERP prevalence and its association with cardiac and all-cause mortality in a large, prospective, population-based case-cohort study (Monitoring of Cardiovascular Diseases and Conditions [MONICA]/KORA [Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg]) comprised of individuals of Central-European descent.
Methods and Findings
Electrocardiograms of 1,945 participants aged 35–74 y, representing a source population of 6,213 individuals, were analyzed applying a case-cohort design. Mean follow-up was 18.9 y. Cause of death was ascertained by the 9th revision of the International Classification of Disease (ICD-9) codes as documented in death certificates. ERP-attributable effects on mortality were determined by a weighted Cox proportional hazard model adjusted for covariables. Prevalence of ERP was 13.1% in our study. ERP was associated with cardiac and all-cause mortality, most pronounced in those of younger age and male sex; a clear ERP-age interaction was detected (p = 0.005). Age-stratified analyses showed hazard ratios (HRs) for cardiac mortality of 1.96 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05–3.68, p = 0.035) for both sexes and 2.65 (95% CI 1.21–5.83, p = 0.015) for men between 35–54 y. An inferior localization of ERP further increased ERP-attributable cardiac mortality to HRs of 3.15 (95% CI 1.58–6.28, p = 0.001) for both sexes and to 4.27 (95% CI 1.90–9.61, p<0.001) for men between 35–54 y. HRs for all-cause mortality were weaker but reached significance.
Conclusions
We found a high prevalence of ERP in our population-based cohort of middle-aged individuals. ERP was associated with about a 2- to 4-fold increased risk of cardiac mortality in individuals between 35 and 54 y. An inferior localization of ERP was associated with a particularly increased risk.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Cardiovascular diseases—disorders that affect the heart and the circulation—are the leading cause of death in the developed world. About half of cardiovascular deaths occur when the heart suddenly stops pumping (sudden cardiac arrest). The muscular walls of the four heart chambers contract in a set pattern to pump blood around the body. The heart's internal electrical system controls the rate and rhythm of these contractions and, if this system goes wrong, an abnormal heart beat or “arrhythmia” develops. Some arrhythmias—in particular, ventricular fibrillation in which the walls of the two lower heart chambers quiver or “fibrillate” instead of pumping—can cause sudden cardiac arrest and immediate loss of consciousness. Death follows within minutes in 95% of cases but immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR; chest compression to pump the heart and inflation of the lungs by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) can keep a person alive until a defibrillator can be used to restore the normal heart beat. People who survive sudden cardiac arrest can be given anti-arrhythmia drugs or have a pacemaker implanted to stabilize their heart beat.
Why Was This Study Done?
The beating heart generates tiny electric waves that can be detected by electrodes on the skin. The pattern of these waves (an electrocardiogram or ECG) provides information about the heart's health. One wave pattern that is often seen on ECGs is the “early repolarization pattern” (ERP), which some studies suggest is associated with an increased risk of cardiac death. Here, the researchers investigate the prevalence of ERP (the proportion of a population with ERP) and its association with death from heart-related problems (cardiac mortality) and from any cause (all-cause mortality) in the MONICA/KORA prospective, population-based case-cohort study. The MONICA Project (MONitoring of Trends and Determinants in CArdiovascular Disease) has studied cardiovascular disease in 10 million people in 21 countries; KORA denotes the study done in the Augsburg region of Germany. In a prospective study, specific baseline characteristics of the study's participants are determined and the participants are followed to see who experiences a predefined outcome. A case-cohort study investigates a randomly selected subcohort (subgroup) of the original participants of a study and any participants who experience the predefined outcome instead of all the participants.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers selected 1945 MONIKA/KORA participants aged 35–74 years from a source population of about 6,000 people using a case-cohort study design. They analyzed the ECGs (recorded in 1984–1985 or 1989–1990) of this subcohort and ascertained the cause of death for those participants who died during the 18.9 year average follow-up. The overall prevalence of ERP in the study was 13.1%, report the researchers, and ERP was associated with cardiac mortality, particularly among younger and male participants. Specifically, among men and women aged 35–54 years, having ERP was associated with a nearly doubled risk of cardiac death. Among men aged 35–54 years, having ERP was associated with an increase in the risk of cardiac death by 2.65-fold. An ERP localized to the bottom of the heart (inferior localization) was associated with an increased risk of cardiac death among both sexes by more than 3-fold and among men by more than 4-fold in this age group. Finally, ERP was also significantly associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality but less strongly than with cardiac mortality.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the prevalence of ERP among the middle-aged people in the MONICA/KORA study is high (and somewhat higher than previously reported). They also show a clear association between ERP and the risk of cardiac death among 35–54-year-old people, particularly among men, but because of the study design, these findings do not show that ERP actually causes cardiac death; it could simply be a susceptibility marker. The researchers note that the increased risk of cardiac death associated with ERP is of a similar size to that associated with some other ECG abnormalities. However, although it might be worth paying special attention to young people with an inferior localization of ERP, finding ERP in a person without symptoms and without a family history of sudden cardiac death should not lead to further investigations or any preventative therapy, they suggest, because the absolute risk of cardiac arrest in such people is very low.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000314.
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute provides information on cardiovascular conditions, including sudden cardiac arrest and on arrhythmias
The American Heart Association also information on sudden cardiac death and on arrhythmias
The German Cardiac Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Kardiologie) and the German Heart Foundation (Deutsche Herzstiftung) provide further information (in German) on cardiovascular conditions
The Heart Rhythm Foundation provides information on all aspects of heart arrhythmia
The Fondation Leducq Alliance Against Sudden Cardiac Death provides information on sudden cardiac arrest
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about cardiac arrest and arrhythmias (in English and Spanish)
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on electrocardiograms (in English and Spanish)
The Nobel Foundation provides an interactive electrocardiogram game
More information about the MONICA project and the KORA Study or is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000314
PMCID: PMC2910598  PMID: 20668657
11.  SCORE performance in Central and Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union: MONICA and HAPIEE results 
European Heart Journal  2013;35(9):571-577.
Aims
The Systematic COronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE) scale assesses 10 year risk of fatal atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD), based on conventional risk factors. The high-risk SCORE version is recommended for Central and Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union (CEE/FSU), but its performance has never been systematically assessed in the region. We evaluated SCORE performance in two sets of population-based CEE/FSU cohorts.
Methods and results
The cohorts based on the World Health Organization MONitoring of trends and determinants in CArdiovascular disease (MONICA) surveys in the Czech Republic, Poland (Warsaw and Tarnobrzeg), Lithuania (Kaunas), and Russia (Novosibirsk) were followed from the mid-1980s. The Health, Alcohol, and Psychosocial factors in Eastern Europe (HAPIEE) study follows Czech, Polish (Krakow), and Russian (Novosibirsk) cohorts from 2002–05. In Cox regression analyses, the high-risk SCORE ≥5% at baseline significantly predicted CVD mortality in both MONICA [n = 15 027; hazard ratios (HR), 1.7–6.3] and HAPIEE (n = 20 517; HR, 2.6–10.5) samples. While SCORE calibration was good in most MONICA samples (predicted and observed mortality were close), the risk was underestimated in Russia. In HAPIEE, the high-risk SCORE overpredicted the estimated 10 year mortality for Czech and Polish samples and adequately predicted it for Russia. SCORE discrimination was satisfactory in both MONICA and HAPIEE.
Conclusion
The high-risk SCORE underestimated the fatal CVD risk in Russian MONICA but performed well in most MONICA samples and Russian HAPIEE. This SCORE version might overestimate the risk in contemporary Czech and Polish populations.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/eht189
PMCID: PMC3938861  PMID: 23786858
Cardiovascular mortality; Cardiovascular risk factors; SCORE risk function; Risk prediction; Central and Eastern Europe; Former Soviet Union
12.  CVD and obesity in transitional Syria: a perspective from the Middle East 
Purpose
Syria is caught in the middle of a disruptive nutritional transition. Its healthcare system is distracted by challenges and successes in other areas while neglecting to address the onslaught of Syria’s cardiovascular disease (CVD) epidemic. Despite the official viewpoint touting improvement in health indicators, current trends jeopardize population health, and several surveys in the Syrian population signal the epidemic spreading far and wide. The goal is to counteract the indifference towards obesity as a threat to Syrian’s health, as the country is slowly becoming a leader in CVD mortality globally.
Methods
PubMed, World Health Organization, and official government websites were searched for primary surveys in Syria related to CVD morbidity, mortality, and risk factors. Inclusion criteria ensured that results maximized relevance while producing comparable studies. Statistical analysis was applied to detect the most common risk factor and significant differences in risk factor prevalence and CVD rates.
Results
Obesity remained the prevailing CVD risk factor except in older Syrian men, where smoking and hypertension were more common. CVD mortality was more common in males due to coronary disease, while stroke dominated female mortality. The young workforce is especially impacted, with 50% of CVD mortality occurring before age 65 years and an 81% prevalence of obesity in women over 45 years.
Conclusion
Syria can overcome its slow response to the CVD epidemic and curb further deterioration by reducing obesity and, thus, inheritance and clustering of risk factors. This can be achieved via multilayered awareness and intensive parental and familial involvement. Extinguishing the CVD epidemic is readily achievable as demonstrated in other countries.
doi:10.2147/VHRM.S28691
PMCID: PMC3310358  PMID: 22454558
Syria; CVD; obesity; risk factors
13.  Erectile Dysfunction Severity as a Risk Marker for Cardiovascular Disease Hospitalisation and All-Cause Mortality: A Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(1):e1001372.
In a prospective Australian population-based study linking questionnaire data from 2006–2009 with hospitalisation and death data to June 2010 for 95,038 men aged ≥45 years, Banks and colleagues found that more severe erectile dysfunction was associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Background
Erectile dysfunction is an emerging risk marker for future cardiovascular disease (CVD) events; however, evidence on dose response and specific CVD outcomes is limited. This study investigates the relationship between severity of erectile dysfunction and specific CVD outcomes.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a prospective population-based Australian study (the 45 and Up Study) linking questionnaire data from 2006–2009 with hospitalisation and death data to 30 June and 31 Dec 2010 respectively for 95,038 men aged ≥45 y. Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine the relationship of reported severity of erectile dysfunction to all-cause mortality and first CVD-related hospitalisation since baseline in men with and without previous CVD, adjusting for age, smoking, alcohol consumption, marital status, income, education, physical activity, body mass index, diabetes, and hypertension and/or hypercholesterolaemia treatment. There were 7,855 incident admissions for CVD and 2,304 deaths during follow-up (mean time from recruitment, 2.2 y for CVD admission and 2.8 y for mortality). Risks of CVD and death increased steadily with severity of erectile dysfunction. Among men without previous CVD, those with severe versus no erectile dysfunction had significantly increased risks of ischaemic heart disease (adjusted relative risk [RR] = 1.60, 95% CI 1.31–1.95), heart failure (8.00, 2.64–24.2), peripheral vascular disease (1.92, 1.12–3.29), “other” CVD (1.26, 1.05–1.51), all CVD combined (1.35, 1.19–1.53), and all-cause mortality (1.93, 1.52–2.44). For men with previous CVD, corresponding RRs (95% CI) were 1.70 (1.46–1.98), 4.40 (2.64–7.33), 2.46 (1.63–3.70), 1.40 (1.21–1.63), 1.64 (1.48–1.81), and 2.37 (1.87–3.01), respectively. Among men without previous CVD, RRs of more specific CVDs increased significantly with severe versus no erectile dysfunction, including acute myocardial infarction (1.66, 1.22–2.26), atrioventricular and left bundle branch block (6.62, 1.86–23.56), and (peripheral) atherosclerosis (2.47, 1.18–5.15), with no significant difference in risk for conditions such as primary hypertension (0.61, 0.16–2.35) and intracerebral haemorrhage (0.78, 0.20–2.97).
Conclusions
These findings give support for CVD risk assessment in men with erectile dysfunction who have not already undergone assessment. The utility of erectile dysfunction as a clinical risk prediction tool requires specific testing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Erectile dysfunction is the medical term used when a man is unable to achieve or sustain an erection of his penis suitable for sexual intercourse. Although a sensitive topic that can cause much embarrassment and distress, erectile dysfunction is very common, with an estimated 40% of men over the age of 40 years experiencing frequent or occasional difficulties. The most common causes of erectile dysfunction are medications, chronic illnesses such as diabetes, and drinking too much alcohol. Stress and mental health problems can also cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. There is also increasing evidence that erectile dysfunction may actually be a symptom of cardiovascular disease—a leading cause of death worldwide—as erectile dysfunction could indicate a problem with blood vessels or poor blood flow commonly associated with cardiovascular disease.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although previous studies have suggested that erectile dysfunction can serve as a marker for cardiovascular disease in men not previously diagnosed with the condition, few studies to date have investigated whether erectile dysfunction could also indicate worsening disease in men already diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. In addition, previous studies have typically been small and have not graded the severity of erectile dysfunction or investigated the specific types of cardiovascular disease associated with erectile dysfunction. In this large study conducted in Australia, the researchers investigated the relationship of the severity of erectile dysfunction with a range of cardiovascular disease outcomes among men with and without a previous diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used information from the established 45 and Up Study, a large cohort study that includes 123,775 men aged 45 and over, selected at random from the general population of New South Wales, a large region of Australia. A total of 95,038 men were included in this analysis. The male participants completed a postal questionnaire that included a question on erectile functioning, which allowed the researchers to define erectile dysfunction as none, mild, moderate, or severe. Using information captured in the New South Wales Admitted Patient Data Collection—a complete record of all public and private hospital admissions, including the reasons for admission and the clinical diagnosis—and the government death register, the researchers were able to determine health outcomes of all study participants. They then used a statistical model to estimate hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease events for different levels of erectile dysfunction.
The researchers found that the rates of severe erectile dysfunction among study participants were 2.2% for men aged 45–54 years, 6.8% for men aged 55–64 years, 20.2% for men aged 65–74 years, 50.0% for men aged 75–84 years, and 75.4% for men aged 85 years and over. During the study period, the researchers recorded 7,855 hospital admissions related to cardiovascular disease and 2,304 deaths. The researchers found that among men without previous cardiovascular disease, those with severe erectile dysfunction were more likely to develop ischemic heart disease (risk 1.60), heart failure (risk 8.00), peripheral vascular disease (risk 1.92), and other causes of cardiovascular disease (risk 1.26) than men without erectile dysfunction. The risks of heart attacks and heart conduction problems were also increased (1.66 and 6.62, respectively). Furthermore, the combined risk of all cardiovascular disease outcomes was 1.35, and the overall risk of death was also higher (risk 1.93) in these men. The researchers found that these increased risks were similar in men with erectile dysfunction who had previously been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that compared to men without erectile dysfunction, there is an increasing risk of ischemic heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, and death from all causes in those with increasing degrees of severity of erectile dysfunction. The authors emphasize that erectile dysfunction is a risk marker for cardiovascular disease, not a risk factor that causes cardiovascular disease. These findings add to previous studies and highlight the need to consider erectile dysfunction in relation to the risk of different types of cardiovascular disease, including heart failure and heart conduction disorders. However, the study's reliance on the answer to a single self-assessed question on erectile functioning limits the findings. Nevertheless, these findings provide useful information for clinicians: men with erectile dysfunction are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, and the worse the erectile dysfunction, the higher the risk of cardiovascular disease. Men with erectile dysfunction, even at mild or moderate levels, should be screened and treated for cardiovascular disease accordingly.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001372.
Wikipedia defines erectile dysfunction (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
MedlinePlus also has some useful patient information on erectile dysfunction
The Mayo Clinic has patient-friendly information on the causes of, and treatments for, erectile dysfunction, and also includes information on the link with cardiovascular disease
The National Heart Foundation of Australia provides information for health professionals, patients, and the general public about how to prevent and manage cardiovascular disease, including assessment and management of cardiovascular disease risk
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001372
PMCID: PMC3558249  PMID: 23382654
14.  Reduced Glomerular Filtration Rate and Its Association with Clinical Outcome in Older Patients at Risk of Vascular Events: Secondary Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(1):e1000016.
Background
Reduced glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is associated with increased cardiovascular risk in young and middle aged individuals. Associations with cardiovascular disease and mortality in older people are less clearly established. We aimed to determine the predictive value of the GFR for mortality and morbidity using data from the 5,804 participants randomized in the Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER).
Methods and Findings
Glomerular filtration rate was estimated (eGFR) using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease equation and was categorized in the ranges ([20–40], [40–50], [50–60]) ≥ 60 ml/min/1.73 m2. Baseline risk factors were analysed by category of eGFR, with and without adjustment for other risk factors. The associations between baseline eGFR and morbidity and mortality outcomes, accrued after an average of 3.2 y, were investigated using Cox proportional hazard models adjusting for traditional risk factors. We tested for evidence of an interaction between the benefit of statin treatment and baseline eGFR status. Age, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, C-reactive protein (CRP), body mass index, fasting glucose, female sex, histories of hypertension and vascular disease were associated with eGFR (p = 0.001 or less) after adjustment for other risk factors. Low eGFR was independently associated with risk of all cause mortality, vascular mortality, and other noncancer mortality and with fatal and nonfatal coronary and heart failure events (hazard ratios adjusted for CRP and other risk factors (95% confidence intervals [CIs]) for eGFR < 40 ml/min/1.73m2 relative to eGFR ≥ 60 ml/min/1.73m2 respectively 2.04 (1.48–2.80), 2.37 (1.53–3.67), 3.52 (1.78–6.96), 1.64 (1.18–2.27), 3.31 (2.03–5.41). There were no nominally statistically significant interactions (p < 0.05) between randomized treatment allocation and eGFR for clinical outcomes, with the exception of the outcome of coronary heart disease death or nonfatal myocardial infarction (p = 0.021), with the interaction suggesting increased benefit of statin treatment in subjects with impaired GFRs.
Conclusions
We have established that, in an elderly population over the age of 70 y, impaired GFR is associated with female sex, with presence of vascular disease, and with levels of other risk factors that would be associated with increased risk of vascular disease. Further, impaired GFR is independently associated with significant levels of increased risk of all cause mortality and fatal vascular events and with composite fatal and nonfatal coronary and heart failure outcomes. Our analyses of the benefits of statin treatment in relation to baseline GFR suggest that there is no reason to exclude elderly patients with impaired renal function from treatment with a statin.
Using data from the PROSPER trial, Ian Ford and colleagues investigate whether reduced glomerular filtration rate is associated with cardiovascular and mortality risk among elderly people.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD)—disease that affects the heart and/or the blood vessels—is a common cause of death in developed countries. In the USA, for example, the single leading cause of death is coronary heart disease, a CVD in which narrowing of the heart's blood vessels slows or stops the blood supply to the heart and eventually causes a heart attack. Other types of CVD include stroke (in which narrowing of the blood vessels interrupts the brain's blood supply) and heart failure (a condition in which the heart can no longer pump enough blood to the rest of the body). Many factors increase the risk of developing CVD, including high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood cholesterol, having diabetes, smoking, and being overweight. Tools such as the “Framingham risk calculator” assess an individual's overall CVD risk by taking these and other risk factors into account. CVD risk can be minimized by taking drugs to reduce blood pressure or cholesterol levels (for example, pravastatin) and by making lifestyle changes.
Why Was This Study Done?
Another potential risk factor for CVD is impaired kidney (renal) function. In healthy people, the kidneys filter waste products and excess fluid out of the blood. A reduced “estimated glomerular filtration rate” (eGFR), which indicates impaired renal function, is associated with increased CVD in young and middle-aged people and increased all-cause and cardiovascular death in people who have vascular disease. But is reduced eGFR also associated with CVD and death in older people? If it is, it would be worth encouraging elderly people with reduced eGFR to avoid other CVD risk factors. In this study, the researchers determine the predictive value of eGFR for all-cause and vascular mortality (deaths caused by CVD) and for incident vascular events (a first heart attack, stroke, or heart failure) using data from the Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER). This clinical trial examined pravastatin's effects on CVD development among 70–82 year olds with pre-existing vascular disease or an increased risk of CVD because of smoking, hypertension, or diabetes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The trial participants were divided into four groups based on their eGFR at the start of the study. The researchers then investigated the association between baseline CVD risk factors and baseline eGFR and between baseline eGFR and vascular events and deaths that occurred during the 3-year study. Several established CVD risk factors were associated with a reduced eGFR after allowing for other risk factors. In addition, people with a low eGFR (between 20 and 40 units) were twice as likely to die from any cause as people with an eGFR above 60 units (the normal eGFR for a young person is 100 units; eGFR decreases with age) and more than three times as likely to have nonfatal coronary heart disease or heart failure. A low eGFR also increased the risk of vascular mortality, other noncancer deaths, and fatal coronary heart disease and heart failure. Finally, pravastatin treatment reduced coronary heart disease deaths and nonfatal heart attacks most effectively among participants with the greatest degree of eGFR impairment.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, in elderly people, impaired renal function is associated with levels of established CVD risk factors that increase the risk of vascular disease. They also suggest that impaired kidney function increases the risk of all-cause mortality, fatal vascular events, and fatal and nonfatal coronary heat disease and heart failure. Because the study participants were carefully chosen for inclusion in PROSPER, these findings may not be generalizable to all elderly people with vascular disease or vascular disease risk factors. Nevertheless, increased efforts should probably be made to encourage elderly people with reduced eGFR and other vascular risk factors to make lifestyle changes to reduce their overall CVD risk. Finally, although the effect of statins in elderly patients with renal dysfunction needs to be examined further, these findings suggest that this group of patients should benefit at least as much from statins as elderly patients with healthy kidneys.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000016.
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has pages on coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to many other sources of information on heart disease, vascular disease, and stroke (in English and Spanish)
The US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides information on how the kidneys work and what can go wrong with them, including a list of links to further information about kidney disease
The American Heart Association provides information on all aspects of cardiovascular disease for patients, caregivers, and professionals (in several languages)
More information about PROSPER is available on the Web site of the Vascular Biochemistry Department of the University of Glasgow
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000016
PMCID: PMC2628400  PMID: 19166266
15.  Regional variations in cardiovascular risk factors in India: India heart watch 
World Journal of Cardiology  2012;4(4):112-120.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an important cause of mortality and morbidity in India. Mortality statistics and morbidity surveys indicate substantial regional variations in CVD prevalence and mortality rates. Data from the Registrar General of India reported greater age-adjusted cardiovascular mortality in southern and eastern states of the country. Coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality is greater in south India while stroke is more common in the eastern Indian states. CHD prevalence is higher in urban Indian populations while stroke mortality is similar in urban and rural regions. Case-control studies in India have identified that the common major risk factors account for more than 90% of incident myocardial infarctions and stroke. The case-control INTERHEART and INTERSTROKE studies reported that hypertension, lipid abnormalities, smoking, obesity, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, low fruit and vegetable intake, and psychosocial stress are as important in India as in other populations of the world. Individual studies have reported that there are substantial regional variations in risk factors in India. At a macro-level these regional variations in risk factors explain some of the regional differences in CVD mortality. However, there is need to study the prevalence of multiple cardiovascular risk factors in different regions of India and to correlate them with variations in CVD mortality using a uniform protocol. There is also a need to determine the “causes of the causes” or fundamental determinants of these risk factors. The India Heart Watch study has been designed to study socioeconomic, anthropometric and biochemical risk factors in urban populations in different regions of the country in order to identify regional differences.
doi:10.4330/wjc.v4.i4.112
PMCID: PMC3342579  PMID: 22558490
Cardiovascular disease; Risk factors; Socioeconomics; Epidemiology; Hypertension; Obesity; Lipids
16.  Cardiovascular health among adults in Syria: a model from developing countries 
Annals of epidemiology  2007;17(9):713-720.
Background
Despite the considerable mortality and morbidity associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) many developing countries lack reliable surveillance of these ailments and their risk factors to guide intervention. This study aims to provide the first population-based estimates of CVD morbidity and mortality among adults in Aleppo-Syria and the distribution of their risk factors.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey of adults 18-65 years old residing in Aleppo-Syria was carried out in 2004 involving 2038 household representatives (45.2% men, mean age 35.3 years, response rate 86%). Main outcomes of interest were physician-diagnosed CVD (infarction, angina, failure, stroke) among survey participants, and past 5 year mortality due to CVD among their household members > 20 years of age (n=6252, 49.5% men). Measurement of blood pressure (BP), height and weight, and smoking history were obtained as well.
Findings
Prevalence of CVD was 4.8% for heart disease and 1.0% for stroke. CVD was responsible for 45.0% of overall mortality reported in the past 5 years, whereby 49% of CVD deaths occurred before the age of 65 year. Mean age of death was 62.6 years (63.6 years for HD and 61.4 years for stroke). Annual crude death rate due to CVD was 314 per 100,000 (95%CI: 215-414), of these 179 were due to heart disease, and 135 due to stroke. More men died from heart disease than women, while the opposite was true for stroke. Hypertension was detected in 40.6% (47.7% men, 34.9%women), obesity in 38.2% (28.8% men, 46.4% women), and smoking (cigarettes or waterpipe) in 38.7% (63.6% men, 19.2% women) of participants. Of those surveyed, 39.3% had 1 CVD risk factor, 27.4% had 2 risk factors, and 8.3% had 3 risk factors. Main predictors of clustering of risk factors were older age, male gender, and low education.
Conclusions
Syria is currently undergoing a stage, where morbidity and mortality from CVD are high but likely to increase based on the population's risk profile. CVD risk distribution in the Syrian society highlights the non-generalizability of CVD models from developed societies, and calls for local studies to inform effective interventions and policies.
doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2007.03.016
PMCID: PMC1994693  PMID: 17553700
17.  Consumption of Dairy Products and Death From Cardiovascular Disease in the Japanese General Population: The NIPPON DATA80 
Journal of Epidemiology  2013;23(1):47-54.
Background
Recent Western studies show an inverse association between milk and dairy product intake and cardiovascular disease (CVD). We studied the association between consumption of milk and dairy products and CVD death in Japan.
Methods
Men and women aged 30 years or older were followed for 24 years. All had participated in a national nutrition survey in 300 health districts throughout Japan in 1980. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to assess mortality risk according to tertiles of milk and dairy product intake, with the high consumption group as reference. Hazard ratios (HRs) per 100-g/day increase in consumption were also estimated.
Results
During the 24-year follow-up period, there were 893 CVD deaths, 174 deaths from coronary heart disease (CHD), and 417 stroke deaths among 9243 participants. For women, the HRs for death from CVD, CHD, and stroke in the low consumption group were 1.27 (95% CI: 0.99–1.58; P for trend = 0.045), 1.67 (0.99–2.80; P = 0.02), and 1.34 (0.94–1.90; P = 0.08), respectively, after adjustment for age, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol drinking habits, history of diabetes, use of antihypertensives, work category, and total energy intake. With each 100-g/day increase in consumption of milk and dairy products, HRs tended to decrease for deaths from CVD (HR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.74–0.99), CHD (0.73; 0.52–1.03), and stroke (0.81; 0.65–1.01) in women. No significant association was observed in men.
Conclusions
Consumption of milk and dairy products was inversely associated with CVD death among women in Japan.
doi:10.2188/jea.JE20120054
PMCID: PMC3700229  PMID: 23208514
dairy products; cardiovascular disease; mortality; blood pressure; coronary heart disease
18.  The Effect of Tobacco Control Measures during a Period of Rising Cardiovascular Disease Risk in India: A Mathematical Model of Myocardial Infarction and Stroke 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(7):e1001480.
In this paper from Basu and colleagues, a simulation of tobacco control and pharmacological interventions to prevent cardiovascular disease mortality in India predicted that Smokefree laws and increased tobacco taxation are likely to be the most effective measures to avert future cardiovascular deaths in India.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
We simulated tobacco control and pharmacological strategies for preventing cardiovascular deaths in India, the country that is expected to experience more cardiovascular deaths than any other over the next decade.
Methods and Findings
A microsimulation model was developed to quantify the differential effects of various tobacco control measures and pharmacological therapies on myocardial infarction and stroke deaths stratified by age, gender, and urban/rural status for 2013 to 2022. The model incorporated population-representative data from India on multiple risk factors that affect myocardial infarction and stroke mortality, including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease. We also included data from India on cigarette smoking, bidi smoking, chewing tobacco, and secondhand smoke. According to the model's results, smoke-free legislation and tobacco taxation would likely be the most effective strategy among a menu of tobacco control strategies (including, as well, brief cessation advice by health care providers, mass media campaigns, and an advertising ban) for reducing myocardial infarction and stroke deaths over the next decade, while cessation advice would be expected to be the least effective strategy at the population level. In combination, these tobacco control interventions could avert 25% of myocardial infarctions and strokes (95% CI: 17%–34%) if the effects of the interventions are additive. These effects are substantially larger than would be achieved through aspirin, antihypertensive, and statin therapy under most scenarios, because of limited treatment access and adherence; nevertheless, the impacts of tobacco control policies and pharmacological interventions appear to be markedly synergistic, averting up to one-third of deaths from myocardial infarction and stroke among 20- to 79-y-olds over the next 10 y. Pharmacological therapies could also be considerably more potent with further health system improvements.
Conclusions
Smoke-free laws and substantially increased tobacco taxation appear to be markedly potent population measures to avert future cardiovascular deaths in India. Despite the rise in co-morbid cardiovascular disease risk factors like hyperlipidemia and hypertension in low- and middle-income countries, tobacco control is likely to remain a highly effective strategy to reduce cardiovascular deaths.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are conditions that affect the heart and/or the circulation. In coronary heart disease, for example, narrowing of the heart's blood vessels by fatty deposits slows the blood supply to the heart and may eventually cause a heart attack (myocardial infarction). Stroke, by contrast, is a CVD in which the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. CVD has been a major cause of illness and death in high-income countries for many years, but the burden of CVD is now rapidly rising in low- and middle-income countries. Indeed, worldwide, three-quarters of all deaths from heart disease and stroke occur in low- and middle-income countries. Smoking, high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood cholesterol (hyperlipidemia), diabetes, obesity, and physical inactivity all increase an individual's risk of developing CVD. Prevention strategies and treatments for CVD include lifestyle changes (for example, smoking cessation) and taking drugs that lower blood pressure (antihypertensive drugs) or blood cholesterol levels (statins) or thin the blood (aspirin).
Why Was This Study Done?
Because tobacco use is a key risk factor for CVD and for several other noncommunicable diseases, the World Health Organization has developed an international instrument for tobacco control called the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Parties to the FCTC (currently 176 countries) agree to implement a set of core tobacco control provisions including legislation to ban tobacco advertising and to increase tobacco taxes. But will tobacco control measures reduce the burden of CVD effectively in low- and middle-income countries as other risk factors for CVD are becoming more common? In this mathematical modeling study, the researchers investigated this question by simulating the effects of tobacco control measures and pharmacological strategies for preventing CVD on CVD deaths in India. Notably, many of the core FCTC provisions remain poorly implemented or unenforced in India even though it became a party to the convention in 2005. Moreover, experts predict that, over the next decade, this middle-income country will contribute more than any other nation to the global increase in CVD deaths.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a microsimulation model (a computer model that operates at the level of individuals) to quantify the likely effects of various tobacco control measures and pharmacological therapies on deaths from myocardial infarction and stroke in India between 2013 and 2022. They incorporated population-representative data from India on risk factors that affect myocardial infarction and stroke mortality and on tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke into their model. They then simulated the effects of five tobacco control measures—smoke-free legislation, tobacco taxation, provision of brief cessation advice by health care providers, mass media campaigns, and advertising bans—and increased access to aspirin, antihypertensive drugs, and statins on deaths from myocardial infarction and stroke. Smoke-free legislation and tobacco taxation are likely to be the most effective strategies for reducing myocardial infarction and stroke deaths over the next decade, according to the model, and the effects of these strategies are likely to be substantially larger than those achieved by drug therapies under current health system conditions. If the effects of smoke-free legislation and tobacco taxation are additive, the model predicts that these two measures alone could avert about 9 million deaths, that is, a quarter of the expected deaths from myocardial infarction and stroke in India over the next 10 years, and that a combination of tobacco control policies and pharmacological interventions could avert up to a third of these deaths.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the implementation of smoke-free laws and the introduction of increased tobacco taxes in India would yield substantial and rapid health benefits by averting future CVD deaths. The accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by the many assumptions included in the mathematical model and by the quality of the data fed into it. Importantly, however, these finding suggest that, despite the rise in other CVD risk factors such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia, tobacco control is likely to be a highly effective strategy for the reduction of CVD deaths over the next decade in India and probably in other low- and middle-income countries. Policymakers in these countries should, therefore, work towards fuller and faster implementation of the core FCTC provisions to boost their efforts to reduce deaths from CVD.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001480.
The American Heart Association provides information on all aspects of cardiovascular disease; its website includes personal stories about heart attacks and stroke
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on heart disease and on stroke (in English and Spanish
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about cardiovascular disease and stroke
MedlinePlus provides links to other sources of information on heart diseases, vascular diseases, and stroke (in English and Spanish)
The World Health Organization provides information (in several languages) about the dangers of tobacco, about the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and about noncommunicable diseases; its Global Noncommunicable Disease Network (NCDnet) aims to help low- and middle- income countries reduce illness and death caused by CVD and other noncommunicable diseases
SmokeFree, a website provided by the UK National Health Service, offers advice on quitting smoking and includes personal stories from people who have stopped smoking
Smokefree.gov, supported by the US National Cancer Institute and other US agencies, offers online tools and resources to help people quit smoking
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001480
PMCID: PMC3706364  PMID: 23874160
19.  Geographic and Demographic Variability in 20-Year Hypertension Incidence: The CARDIA Study 
Hypertension  2010;57(1):39-47.
While the variability of cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality by geography, race and sex is well known, less is known about risk factor variation. We assessed 20-year incidence of hypertension, a CVD risk factor, across four US urban areas and by race-sex. Among 3,436 eligible adults 18–30 years old when recruited in 1985–86 in the community-based Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) cohort, we examined 20-year cumulative incidence of hypertension (SBP ≥140 mmHg or DBP ≥90 mmHg or anti-hypertensive medication use at any examination) by site and race-sex, adjusting for baseline and time-dependent covariates with Cox regression. Twenty-year incidence, when the mean ages were about 45 years, was 34.5% in black men (n=617), 37.6% in black women (n=965), 21.4% in white men (n=856), and 12.3% in white women (n=998)(P<0.001). Incidence was 33.6% in Birmingham, 23.4% in Chicago, 19% in Minneapolis, and 27.4% in Oakland, (P<0.001). After adjustment for age, race, sex, heart rate, BMI, smoking, family history, education, uric acid, alcohol use, physical activity, and baseline SBP, hazard ratios (95% CI) compared to Birmingham were 0.72 (0.59–0.87) for Chicago, 0.60 (0.50–0.74) for Minneapolis, and 0.73 (0.61–0.87) for Oakland. Race-sex differences persisted after adjustment for site, especially for black women. From young adulthood to middle age, hypertension incidence varies significantly across urban areas. Independently of geography, blacks, especially women, are at markedly higher risk of hypertension. Hypertension incidence may contribute to geographic and racial differences in CVD mortality including stroke.
doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.110.160341
PMCID: PMC3057218  PMID: 21135358
hypertension; incidence; geography; demography; epidemiology
20.  Relation of blood pressure components and categories and all-cause, stroke and coronary heart disease mortality in urban Chinese women: A population-based prospective study 
Journal of hypertension  2009;27(3):468-475.
Objective
To determine whether various levels of blood pressure (BP), particularly normal and high normal blood pressure or prehypertension predict cardiovascular mortality among urban Chinese women.
Methods
We evaluated the impact of all measures of blood pressure on total mortality and stroke and coronary heart disease (CHD)-specific mortality in a population-based cohort study, the Shanghai Women’s Health Study. Included in this analysis were 68,438 women aged 40 to 70 years at baseline for whom BP was assessed.
Results
During an average of 5 years of follow-up, we identified 1,574 deaths from all causes, 247 from stroke, and 91 from CHD. Hypertension and higher levels of individual BP parameters including systolic BP (SBP), diastolic BP (DBP), pulse pressure (PP), and mean arterial pressure (MAP), were positively associated with all-cause, stroke, and CHD mortality (P trend <0.05 for all except for DBP and CHD mortality). Prehypertension (adjusted hazard ratio (HR adj) =1.65; 95% CI, 0.98 2.78), particularly high normal BP (HR adj =2.34; 95% CI, 1.32–4.12), was associated with an increased risk of mortality from stroke. Hypertension accounted for 9.3% of mortality from all causes, 25.5% of mortality from stroke, and 21.7% mortality from CHD. High normal BP accounted for 10.8% of mortality from stroke. Isolated SBP also predicted stroke and CHD mortality.
Conclusion
Hypertension is a significant contributor to mortality, particularly stroke and CHD mortality, among women in Shanghai. High normal BP is associated with high stroke mortality.
doi:10.1097/HJH.0b013e3283220eb9
PMCID: PMC2652679  PMID: 19262225
blood pressure; China; cohort study; mortality; prehypertension; stroke; women
21.  Does Inclusion of Education and Marital Status Improve SCORE Performance in Central and Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union? Findings from MONICA and HAPIEE Cohorts 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94344.
Background and Objective
The SCORE scale predicts the 10-year risk of fatal atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD), based on conventional risk factors. The high-risk version of SCORE is recommended for Central and Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union (CEE/FSU), due to high CVD mortality rates in these countries. Given the pronounced social gradient in cardiovascular mortality in the region, it is important to consider social factors in the CVD risk prediction. We investigated whether adding education and marital status to SCORE benefits its prognostic performance in two sets of population-based CEE/FSU cohorts.
Methods
The WHO MONICA (MONItoring of trends and determinants in CArdiovascular disease) cohorts from the Czech Republic, Poland (Warsaw and Tarnobrzeg), Lithuania (Kaunas), and Russia (Novosibirsk) were followed from the mid-1980s (577 atherosclerotic CVD deaths among 14,969 participants with non-missing data). The HAPIEE (Health, Alcohol, and Psychosocial factors In Eastern Europe) study follows Czech, Polish (Krakow), and Russian (Novosibirsk) cohorts from 2002–05 (395 atherosclerotic CVD deaths in 19,900 individuals with non-missing data).
Results
In MONICA and HAPIEE, the high-risk SCORE ≥5% at baseline strongly and significantly predicted fatal CVD both before and after adjustment for education and marital status. After controlling for SCORE, lower education and non-married status were significantly associated with CVD mortality in some samples. SCORE extension by these additional risk factors only slightly improved indices of calibration and discrimination (integrated discrimination improvement <5% in men and ≤1% in women).
Conclusion
Extending SCORE by education and marital status failed to substantially improve its prognostic performance in population-based CEE/FSU cohorts.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094344
PMCID: PMC3979770  PMID: 24714549
22.  Pre-hypertension in Uganda: a cross-sectional study 
Background
Persons with a systolic blood pressure (BP) of 120 to < 140 or diastolic BP of 80 to < 90 mm hg are classified as having pre-hypertension. Pre-hypertension is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, incident CVD and CVD mortality. Understanding determinants of pre-hypertension especially in low income countries is a pre-requisite for improved prevention and control.
Methods
Data were analyzed for 4142 persons aged 18 years and older with BP measured in a community cross sectional survey in Uganda. The prevalence of pre-hypertension was estimated and a number of risk factors e.g. smoking, use of alcohol, overweight, obesity, physical activity, sex, age, marital status, place of residence, and consumption of vegetables and fruits were compared among different groups (normotension, pre-hypertension, and hypertension) using bivariate and multivariable logistic regression.
Results
The age standardized prevalence of normal blood pressure was 37.6%, pre-hypertension 33.9%, hypertension 28.5% and raised blood pressure 62%. There was no difference between the prevalence of hypertension among women compared to men (28.9% versus 27.9%). However, the prevalence of pre-hypertension was higher among men (41.6%) compared to women (29.4%). Compared to people with normal blood pressure, the risk of pre-hypertension was increased by being 40 years and above, smoking, consumption of alcohol, not being married, being male and being overweight or obese. Compared to pre-hypertension, hypertension was more likely if one was more than 40 years, had infrequent or no physical activity, resided in an urban area, and was obese or overweight.
Conclusions
More than one in three of adults in this population had pre-hypertension. Preventive and public health interventions that reduce the prevalence of raised blood pressure need to be implemented.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-13-101
PMCID: PMC3833647  PMID: 24228945
Cardiovascular diseases; Non communicable diseases; Low income countries; Risk factors; Prevalence
23.  Ten-year change in blood pressure levels and prevalence of hypertension in urban and rural Cameroon 
Background
Hypertension is becoming increasingly important in sub-Saharan Africa. However, evidences in support of this trend with time are still not available. The aim of this study was to evaluate the 10-year change in blood pressure levels and prevalence of hypertension in rural and urban Cameroon.
Methods
Two cross sectional population-based surveys in Yaounde (urban area) and Evodoula (rural area) in 1994 (1762 subjects) and 2003 (1398 subjects) used similar methodologies in women and men aged ≥ 24 years. Data on systolic and diastolic blood pressures (SBP and DBP), body mass index, educational level, alcohol consumption and tobacco smoking were collected during the two periods.
Results
Between 1994 and 2003, blood pressure levels significantly increased in rural women (SBP +18.2 mmHg, DBP +11.9 mmHg) and men (SBP +18.8 mmHg, DBP +11.6 mmHg), all p<0.001. In the urban area, SBP increased in women (+8.1 mmHg, p<0.001) and men (+6.5 mmHg, p<0.001), and DBP increased only in women (+3.3 mmHg, p<0.001). The odds ratio (95% CI) adjusted on confounders comparing the prevalence of hypertension (blood pressure ≥ 140/90 mmHg and/or treatment) between 2003 and 1994 ranged from 1.5 (1.1–2.2) in urban men to 5.3 (3.2–8.9) in rural men.
Discussion
Blood pressure levels of this population have deteriorated over time and the prevalence of hypertension has increased by two to five folds. Adverse effects of risk factors could account for some of these changes. Prevention and control programs are needed to reverse these trends and to avoid the looming complications.
doi:10.1136/jech.2008.086355
PMCID: PMC3094348  PMID: 19692732
Hypertension; blood pressure; trends; developing countries; sub-Saharan Africa; Cameroon
24.  Dietary Glycemic Load and Glycemic Index and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke in Dutch Men and Women: The EPIC-MORGEN Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e25955.
Background
The associations of glycemic load (GL) and glycemic index (GI) with the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are not well-established, particularly in men, and may be modified by gender.
Objective
To assess whether high dietary GL and GI increase the risk of CVD in men and women.
Methods
A large prospective cohort study (EPIC-MORGEN) was conducted within the general Dutch population among 8,855 men and 10,753 women, aged 21–64 years at baseline (1993–1997) and free of diabetes and CVD. Dietary intake was assessed with a validated food-frequency questionnaire and GI and GL were calculated using Foster-Powell's international table of GI. Information on morbidity and mortality was obtained through linkage with national registries. Cox proportional hazards analysis was performed to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for incident coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, while adjusting for age, CVD risk factors, and dietary factors.
Results
During a mean follow-up of 11.9 years, 581 CHD cases and 120 stroke cases occurred among men, and 300 CHD cases and 109 stroke cases occurred among women. In men, GL was associated with an increased CHD risk (adjusted HR per SD increase, 1.17 [95% CI, 1.02–1.35]), while no significant association was found in women (1.09 [0.89–1.33]). GI was not associated with CHD risk in both genders, while it was associated with increased stroke risk in men (1.27 [1.02–1.58]) but not in women (0.96 [0.75–1.22]). Similarly, total carbohydrate intake and starch intake were associated with a higher CHD risk in men (1.23 [1.04–1.46]; and 1.24 [1.07–1.45]), but not in women.
Conclusion
Among men, high GL and GI, and high carbohydrate and starch intake, were associated with increased risk of CVD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025955
PMCID: PMC3187822  PMID: 21998729
25.  Associations of Adiponectin and Leptin with Incident Coronary Heart Disease and Ischemic Stroke in African Americans: The Jackson Heart Study 
Background: Because the predictive significance of previously reported racial differences in leptin and adiponectin levels remains unclear, we assessed the prospective association of these adipokines with the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events in African Americans, a population with a high prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors.
Methods: Serum specimens from 4,571 Jackson Heart Study participants without prevalent CVD at baseline examination (2000–2004) were analyzed for adiponectin and leptin levels. Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to estimate the associations of the two adipokines with incident coronary heart disease (CHD) and incident ischemic stroke.
Results: During 6.2 years average of follow-up, 98 incident CHD and 87 incident ischemic stroke events were documented. Among study participants (64% women; mean age 54 ± 13 years), the mean (standard deviation, SD) was 6.04 (4.32) μg/mL in women and 4.03 (3.14) μg/mL in men for adiponectin and 37.35 (23.90) ng/mL in women and 11.03 (10.05) ng/mL in men for leptin. After multivariable adjustment that included age, body mass index, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, C-reactive protein, insulin resistance by homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance, systolic blood pressure, hypertension medication, smoking, and physical activity, adiponectin was directly associated in women with incident stroke, HR = 1.41 (1.04–1.91) per one SD increase (p = 0.03), but not in men (p = 0.42). It was not associated with incident CHD in women or men. Leptin was not associated with incident CHD or incident stroke.
Conclusion: In the largest community-based African American cohort, adiponectin was associated among women with a higher risk of incident stroke. Whether adiponectin harbors harmful properties, or it is produced in response to vascular inflammation to counter the atherosclerotic process, or the putative “adiponectin resistance” phenomenon acts, should be further assessed.
doi:10.3389/fpubh.2013.00016
PMCID: PMC3854845  PMID: 24350185
cohort study; adiponectin; leptin; cardiovascular events; stroke; minorities; African Americans

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