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Atherosclerosis. 2005 Aug;181(2):381-8. Epub 2005 Feb 17.

Association between cigarette smoking, metabolic syndrome, and carotid arteriosclerosis in Japanese individuals.

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Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Tokyo Graduate School of Medicine, Bunkyo-ku Hongo 7-3-1, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan.


Cigarette smoking is associated with increased insulin resistance and other metabolic abnormalities. Here, we investigate the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in cigarette smokers and people who never smoked by analyzing cross-sectional data of 5033 subjects aged between 35 and 65 years who underwent general health screening. Both former and current smoking was associated with an increased incidence of metabolic syndrome defined by modified-National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) criteria with odds ratios of 1.77 (95% CI 1.42-2.22, P < 0.0001) and 2.38 (95% CI 1.95-2.91, P < 0.0001), respectively. In both former and current smokers, prevalence of metabolic syndrome increased when the duration of cigarette smoking was > or = 10 years. The positive association between metabolic syndrome and smoking was only partially reversed even 5 years after quitting. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that metabolic syndrome was an independent risk factor for carotid plaque with an odds ratio of 1.72 (95% CI 1.43-2.08, P < 0.0001). On the other hand, when limited to individuals without metabolic syndrome, former and current smoking was still found to be associated with carotid plaque with odds ratios of 1.49 (95% CI 1.15-1.92, P = 0.0023) and 1.57 (95% CI 1.22-2.03, P = 0.0005), respectively, in men. Collectively, these data suggest that the atherogenic consequences of smoking may, at least in part, be explained by its association with metabolic syndrome.

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