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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2006 Oct;14(10):1708-15.

Impact of obesity in intima media thickness of carotid arteries.

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Department of Clinical Therapeutics, Alexandra Hospital, National and Kapodestrial University, Athens, Greece.



To explore differences in intima media thickness (IMT) of the carotid arteries induced by differences in BMI.


Data from 3173 consecutive subjects, who were referred to our Hypertension Center from 1998 to 2004, were reviewed. Criteria for patients to be considered for further analysis included no past or concurrent antihypertensive medication, no concurrent medication with the potential to raise blood pressure (BP) (e.g., prednisone), and no clinical signs or laboratory evidence of secondary causes of hypertension. Our population was divided into four groups according to NIH criteria for obesity: underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese. BMI, mean IMT of internal carotid arteries, and 24-hour BP values were available for all subjects. Five hundred thirty six subjects of the four groups, matched for age, gender, and mean 24-hour BP values, were included in the analysis.


Mean IMT of internal carotid arteries was increased with increasing BMI. Mean IMT was significantly higher in obese subjects compared with normal-weight (p < 0.01) and underweight (p < 0.001) subjects. Mean IMT was significantly higher in overweight subjects compared with normal-weight ones (p < 0.05). Furthermore, multivariate regression analysis in obese subjects revealed that fasting serum glucose was independently associated with IMT.


Obesity may be an important factor for carotid atherosclerosis, and at least some of the effects of obesity are independent of the BP levels. Fasting serum glucose levels in obese subjects may play an important role in carotid atherosclerosis.

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