Background: Recent studies have reported an association between both higher and lower levels of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and higher mortality of diabetes patients. Like diabetes, carotid atherosclerosis is a well known lifestyle-related disease. However, no studies have yet reported an association between HbA1c levels and carotid atherosclerosis. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 1,150 Japanese elderly men aged ≥60 years who were undergoing general health checkups. Carotid atherosclerosis was defined as a carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) ≥1.1 mm. Since body mass index (BMI) is regarded as a cardiovascular risk factor that exerts a strong influence on both HbA1c levels and carotid atherosclerosis, we performed a stratified analysis of this risk based on BMI. Results: Using the intermediate HbA1c quintile as a reference group, the groups in the lowest HbA1c quintiles showed a significantly higher risk of carotid atherosclerosis in patients with low BMI (≤23 kg/m2) vs. no increased risk in those with high BMI (>23 kg/m2). The association of HbA1c with carotid atherosclerosis became slightly stronger when these analyses were limited to subjects who were not taking glucose-lowering medications or medications for hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease. After adjusting for classical cardiovascular risk factors, adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for carotid atherosclerosis were 1.36 (0.84 to 2.20) for total subjects, 2.29 (1.12 to 4.66) for low-BMI groups, and 0.68 (0.33 to 1.41) for high-BMI groups. Conclusions: Lower HbA1c level is a significant risk factor for carotid atherosclerosis in rural community-dwelling elderly Japanese men with low, but not high BMI, particularly in those not taking glucose-lowering medication.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Physiology (medical)