J Prev Med Public Health.  2006 Nov;39(6):477-484.

Associations between Carotid Intima-media Thickness, Plaque and Cardiovascular Risk Factors

  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Korea. jschoix@jnu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine, Yanbian University Medical College, Korea.
  • 3Department of Preventive Medicine, Seonam University College of Medicine, Korea.
  • 4Department of Neurology, Chonbuk National University Medical School, Korea.
  • 5Department of Medical Education, Chonnam National University Medical School, Korea.


OBJECTIVES: This study was conducted to examine the association between the carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT), plaque and cardiovascular risk factors according to gender and age. METHODS: The data used for this study were obtained from 1,507 subjects (691 men, 816 women), aged 20-74 years, who participated in 'Prevalence study of thyroid diseases' in two counties of Jeollanam-do Province during July and August of 2004. The body mass index (BMI) and waist hip ratio (WHR) were calculated by anthropometry. The blood pressure, pulse rate, pulse pressure, total cholesterol, triglyceride, HDL cholesterol and fasting blood sugar level were also measured. Ultrasonography was used to measure the carotid artery IMT and plaque. IMT measurements were performed at 6 sites, including both common carotid arteries, and the bulb and internal carotid arteries. The definition of the 'mean IMT' was mean value obtained from these 6 sites. RESULTS: The mean+/-standard deviation IMT values were 0.65+/-0.14 and 0.60+/-0.13 mm in men and women (p<0.001), respectively. The data were analyzed according to gender and the 50 year age groups.In a multiple linear regression analysis, age and hypertension were positively associated with the mean IMT in both men and women, aged<50 years. Age, total cholesterol and smoking (current) were positively associated with the mean IMT in men (> of =50 years). Age was positively associated with the mean IMT in women (> of =50 years), but the HDL cholesterol level was negatively associated. The prevalence of plaques was 44.2%(196/443) in men and 19.4%(89/459) in women, for those greater than 50 years of age. In a multiple logistic regression analysis, age (OR=1.090, 95%CI=1.053-1.129), HDL cholesterol (OR=0.964, 95%CI=0.944-0.984), total cholesterol (OR=1.009, 95%CI=1.002-1.017) and BMI (OR=0.896, 95%CI=0.818-0.983) were independently associated with plaques in men; whereas, age (OR=1.057, 95%CI=1.012-1.103), HDL cholesterol (OR=0.959, 95%CI=0.932-0.986), pulse pressure (OR=1.029, 95%CI=1.007-1.050) and triglycerides (OR=0.531, 95%CI=0.300-0.941) were independently associated with plaques in women. CONCLUSIONS: There were significant gender and aging differences in the association between the IMT, plaque and cardiovascular risk factors. Therefore, for the prevention of atherosclerosis, selective approaches should be considered with regard to gender and age factors.


Carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT); Cardiovascular risk factors; Atherosclerosis

MeSH Terms

Tunica Intima/*pathology
Sex Factors
Risk Factors
Middle Aged
Carotid Arteries/*pathology/ultrasonography
Cardiovascular Diseases/*epidemiology/*pathology
Body Mass Index
Age Factors
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