Evaluation of clinical and inflammatory markers of subclinical carotid atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women
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Objective: This study aims to evaluate clinical and inflammatory markers of subclinical carotid atherosclerosis (ATS) in asymptomatic postmenopausal women.Methods: This cross-sectional study included 268 Brazilian women (aged >= 45 y and amenorrhea >= 12 mo). Subclinical ATS was defined as increased carotid intima-media thickness (>1.0 mm) and/or the presence of plaques evaluated by carotid duplex ultrasound. Inflammatory markers included C-reactive protein (CRP), as well as heat shock protein (HSP) 60 and HSP70 and their antibodies. Pearson's correlation and stepwise logistic regression were used for statistical analysis.Results: Among the women studied, 45.9% (123 of 268) had a diagnosis of ATS, and 54.1% (145 of 268) had normal carotid ultrasound scans (controls). Women with ATS were older (56.6 vs 52.5 y), and their time since menopause was longer (6.0 vs 4.0 y). In addition, higher prevalences of metabolic syndrome (39.0% vs 25.5%), hypertension (52.0% vs 30.3%), and diabetes (11.4% vs 4.8%), and elevated circulating levels of CRP and HSP60, were observed in women with ATS compared with controls (P < 0.05). Intima-media thickness was positively correlated with anti-HSP70 antibodies (r = 0.110, P = 0.049) and CRP (r = 0.167, P = 0.009). ATS risk increased with age at menopause (odds ratio [OR], 1.18; 95% CI, 1.10-1.26), time since menopause (OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.02-1.14), and glucose of 100 mg/dL or higher (OR, 2.17; 95% CI, 1.12-4.20). Serum HSP70 levels (OR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.47-0.98) were associated with a lower ATS risk (P < 0.05).Conclusions: In postmenopausal women, age, menopause status, and hyperglycemia are associated with a higher prevalence of ATS, whereas elevated serum HSP70 is associated with a lower prevalence of ATS.
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