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Arteriosclerosis. 1990 May-Jun;10(3):430-6.

Association of fasting insulin with blood pressure and lipids in young adults. The CARDIA study.

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Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


The association of insulin with cardiovascular disease (CVD) may be mediated in part by the associations of insulin with CVD risk factors, particularly blood pressure and serum lipids. These associations were examined in 4576 black and white young adults in the CARDIA Study. Fasting insulin level was correlated in univariate analysis with systolic blood pressure (r = 0.16), diastolic blood pressure (r = 0.13), triglycerides (r = 0.27), total cholesterol (r = 0.10), high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (r = -0.25), and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (r = 0.14), and with age, sex, race, glucose, body mass index, alcohol intake, cigarette use, physical activity, and treadmill duration (all p less than 0.0001). After adjustment for these covariates, insulin remained positively associated with blood pressure, triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B and was negatively associated with HDL, HDL2 and HDL3 cholesterol, and apolipoprotein A-I in all four race-sex groups. Higher levels of fasting insulin are associated with unfavorable levels of CVD risk factors in young adults; these associations, though relatively small, can be expected to increase the risk of atherosclerosis. Demonstration of these relationships in a large, racially diverse, healthy population suggests that insulin may be an important intermediate risk factor for CVD in a broad segment of the U.S. population.

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