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Open access

Xiao Zong, Qin Fan, Hang Zhang, Qian Yang, Hongyang Xie, Qiujing Chen, Ruiyan Zhang, and Rong Tao

To explore the relationship between soluble ST2 (sST2) and metabolic syndrome (MetS) and determine whether sST2 levels can predict the presence and severity of MetS. We evaluated 550 consecutive subjects (58.91 ± 9.69 years, 50% male) with or without MetS from the Department of Vascular & Cardiology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University-Affiliated Ruijin Hospital. Serum sST2 concentrations were measured. The participants were divided into three groups according to the sST2 tertiles. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression models were used to evaluate the association between serum sST2 concentrations and the presence of MetS. Serum sST2 concentrations were significantly higher in the MetS group than in those in the no MetS group (14.80 ± 7.01 vs 11.58 ± 6.41 ng/mL, P < 0.01). Subjects with more MetS components showed higher levels of sST2. sST2 was associated with the occurrence of MetS after multivariable adjustment as a continuous log-transformed variable (per 1 SD, odds ratio (OR): 1.42, 95% CI: 1.13–1.80, P < 0.01). Subgroup analysis showed that individuals with MetS have significantly higher levels of sST2 than those without MetS regardless of sex and age. High serum sST2 levels were significantly and independently associated with the presence and severity of MetS. Thus, sST2 levels may be a novel biomarker and clinical predictor of MetS.

Open access

Marcus Quinkler, Bertil Ekman, Claudio Marelli, Sharif Uddin, Pierre Zelissen, Robert D Murray, and on behalf of the EU-AIR Investigators

Objective

Prednisolone is used as glucocorticoid replacement therapy for adrenal insufficiency (AI). Recent data indicate that its use in AI is associated with low bone mineral density. Data on risk factors for cardiovascular disease in patients with AI treated with prednisolone are scarce, despite this condition being the predominant cause of excess mortality. We aimed to address this question using real-world data from the European Adrenal Insufficiency Registry (EU-AIR).

Design/methods

EU-AIR, comprising of 19 centres across Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, commenced enrolling patients with AI in August 2012. Patients receiving prednisolone (3–6 mg/day, n = 50) or hydrocortisone (15–30 mg/day, n = 909) were identified and grouped at a ratio of 1:3 (prednisolone:hydrocortisone) by matching for gender, age, duration and type of disease. Data from baseline and follow-up visits were analysed. Data from patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia were excluded.

Results

Significantly higher mean ± s.d. total (6.3 ± 1.6 vs 5.4 ± 1.1 mmol/L; P = 0.003) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels (3.9 ± 1.4 vs 3.2 ± 1.0 mmol/L; P = 0.013) were identified in 47 patients on prednisolone vs 141 receiving hydrocortisone at baseline and at follow-up (P = 0.005 and P = 0.006, respectively). HbA1c, high-density lipoprotein and triglyceride levels, body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and waist circumference were not significantly different.

Conclusions

This is the first matched analysis of its kind. Significantly higher LDL levels in patients receiving prednisolone relative to hydrocortisone could predict a higher relative risk of cardiovascular disease in the former group.

Open access

Jan Roar Mellembakken, Azita Mahmoudan, Lars Mørkrid, Inger Sundström-Poromaa, Laure Morin-Papunen, Juha S Tapanainen, Terhi T Piltonen, Angelica Lindén Hirschberg, Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Eszter Vanky, Pernille Ravn, Richard Christian Jensen, Marianne Skovsager Andersen, and Dorte Glintborg

Objective

Obesity is considered to be the strongest predictive factor for cardio-metabolic risk in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The aim of the study was to compare blood pressure (BP) in normal weight women with PCOS and controls matched for age and BMI.

Methods

From a Nordic cross-sectional base of 2615 individuals of Nordic ethnicity, we studied a sub cohort of 793 normal weight women with BMI < 25 kg/m2 (512 women with PCOS according to Rotterdam criteria and 281 age and BMI-matched controls). Participants underwent measurement of BP and body composition (BMI, waist-hip ratio), lipid status, and fasting BG. Data were presented as median (quartiles).

Results

The median age for women with PCOS were 28 (25, 32) years and median BMI was 22.2 (20.7, 23.4) kg/m2. Systolic BP was 118 (109, 128) mmHg in women with PCOS compared to 110 (105, 120) mmHg in controls and diastolic BP was 74 (67, 81) vs 70 (64, 75) mmHg, both P < 0.001. The prevalence of women with BP ≥ 140/90 mmHg was 11.1% (57/512) in women with PCOS vs 1.8% (5/281) in controls, P < 0.001. In women ≥ 35 years the prevalence of BP ≥ 140/90 mmHg was comparable in women with PCOS and controls (12.7% vs 9.8%, P = 0.6). Using multiple regression analyses, the strongest association with BP was found for age, waist circumference, and total cholesterol in women with PCOS.

Conclusions

Normal weight women with PCOS have higher BP than controls. BP and metabolic screening are relevant also in young normal weight women with PCOS.

Open access

Milica Popovic, Fahim Ebrahimi, Sandrine Andrea Urwyler, Marc Yves Donath, and Mirjam Christ-Crain

Arginine vasopressin (AVP) was suggested to contribute to cardiovascular risk and type 2 diabetes in patients with metabolic syndrome. The proinflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-1 is able to induce AVP secretion and plays a causal role in cardiovascular mortality and type 2 diabetes. We investigated in two studies whether copeptin levels – the surrogate marker for AVP – are regulated by IL-1-mediated chronic inflammation in patients with metabolic syndrome. Study A was a prospective, interventional, single-arm study (2014–2016). Study B was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study (2016–2017). n = 73 (Study A) and n = 66 (Study B) adult patients with metabolic syndrome were treated with 100 mg anakinra or placebo (only in study B) twice daily for 1 day (study A) and 28 days (study B). Fasting blood samples were drawn at day 1, 7, and 28 of treatment for measurement of serum copeptin. Patients with chronic low-grade inflammation (C-reactive protein levels ≥2 mg/L) and BMI >35 kg/m2 had higher baseline copeptin levels (7.7 (IQR 4.9–11.9) vs 5.8 (IQR 3.9–9.3) pmol/L, P inflamm = 0.009; 7.8 (IQR 5.4–11.7) vs 4.9 (IQR 3.7–9.8) pmol/L, P BMI = 0.008). Copeptin levels did not change either in the anakinra or in the placebo group and remained stable throughout the treatment (P = 0.44). Subgroup analyses did not reveal effect modifications. Therefore, we conclude that, although IL-1-mediated inflammation is associated with increased circulating copeptin levels, antagonizing IL-1 does not significantly alter copeptin levels in patients with metabolic syndrome.

Open access

Elena Izkhakov, Joseph Meyerovitch, Micha Barchana, Yacov Shacham, Naftali Stern, and Lital Keinan-Boker

Objective

Thyroid cancer (TC) survivors may be at risk of subsequent cardiovascular and cerebrovascular (CaV&CeV) morbidity. The 2009 American Thyroid Association (ATA) guidelines recommended less aggressive treatment for low-risk TC patients. The aim of this study was to assess the atherosclerotic CaV&CeV outcome of Israeli TC survivors compared to individuals with no thyroid disease, and the atherosclerotic CaV&CeV outcome before (2000–2008) and after (2009–2011) implementation of the 2009 ATA guidelines.

Methods

All members of the largest Israeli healthcare organization who were diagnosed with TC from 1/2000 to 12/2014 (study group) and age- and sex-matched members with no thyroid disease (controls) were included. Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards models.

Results

The mean follow-up was 7.6 ± 4.2 and 7.8 ± 4.1 years for the study (n = 5,677, 79% women) and control (n = 23,962) groups, respectively. The former had an increased risk of new atherosclerotic CaV&CeV events (adjusted HR 1.26, 95% CI 1.15–1.39). The 5-year incidence of CaV&CeV was lower (adjusted HR 0.49, 95% CI 0.38–0.62) from 2009 to 2011 compared to 2000 to 2008, but remained higher in the study group than in the control group (adjusted HR 1.5, 95% CI 1.14–1.69).

Conclusions

This large Israeli population-based cohort study showed greater atherosclerotic CaV&CeV morbidity in TC survivors compared to individuals with no thyroid diseases. There was a trend toward a decreased 5-year incidence of atherosclerotic CaV&CeV events among TC survivors following the implementation of the 2009 ATA guidelines, but it remained higher compared to the general population.

Open access

Dorte Glintborg, Katrine Hass Rubin, Mads Nybo, Bo Abrahamsen, and Marianne Andersen

Aim

To investigate risk of thyroid disease in Danish women with PCOS.

Design

National register-based study on women with PCOS in Denmark. 18,476 women had a diagnosis of PCOS in the Danish National Patient Register. PCOS Odense University Hospital (PCOS OUH, n = 1146) was an embedded cohort of women with PCOS and clinical and biochemical examination. Three age-matched controls were included for each woman with PCOS (n = 54,757). The main outcome measures were thyroid disease (hypothyroidism, Graves’ disease, goiter, thyroiditis) according to hospital diagnosis codes and/or inferred from filled medicine prescriptions. Associations between baseline TSH and development of cardio-metabolic disease was examined in PCOS OUH.

Results

The median (quartiles) age at inclusion was 29 (23–35) years and follow-up duration was 11.1 (6.9–16.0) years. The hazard ratio (95% CI) for thyroid disease development was 2.5 (2.3–2.7) (P < 0.001). The event rate of thyroid disease was 6.0 per 1000 patient-years in PCOS Denmark versus 2.4 per 1000 patient-years in controls (P < 0.001). Women in PCOS OUH with TSH ≥2.5 mIU/L (n = 133) had higher BMI (median 29 vs 27 kg/m2), wider waist, higher triglycerides and free testosterone by the time of PCOS diagnosis compared to women in PCOS OUH with TSH <2.5 mIU/L (n = 588). Baseline TSH did not predict later development of cardio-metabolic diseases in PCOS OUH.

Conclusions

The event rate of thyroid disease was significantly and substantially higher in women with PCOS compared to controls.

Open access

Sirazum Choudhury, Tricia Tan, Katharine Lazarus, and Karim Meeran

The introduction of adrenocortical extract in 1930 improved the life expectancy of hyhpoadrenal patients, with further increases seen after the introduction of cortisone acetate from 1948. Most patients are now treated with synthetic hydrocortisone, and incremental advances have been made with optimisation of daily dosing and the introduction of multidose regimens. There remains a significant mortality gap between individuals with treated hypoadrenalism and the general population. It is unclear whether this gap is a result of glucocorticoid over-replacement, under-replacement or loss of the circadian and ultradian rhythm of cortisol secretion, with the risk of detrimental excess glucocorticoid exposure at later times in the day. The way forwards will involve replacement of the diurnal cortisol rhythm with better glucocorticoid replacement regimens. The steroid profile produced by both prednisolone and dual-release hydrocortisone (Plenadren), provide a smoother glucocorticoid profile of cortisol than standard oral multidose regimens of hydrocortisone and cortisone acetate. The individualisation of prednisolone doses and lower bioavailability of Plenadren offer reductions in total steroid exposure. Although there is emerging evidence of both treatments offering better cardiometabolic outcomes than standard glucocorticoid replacement regimens, there is a paucity of evidence involving very low dose prednisolone (2–4 mg daily) compared to the larger doses (~7.5 mg) historically used. Data from upcoming clinical studies on prednisolone will therefore be of key importance in informing future practice.

Open access

Chunliang Yang, Junyi Li, Fei Sun, Haifeng Zhou, Jia Yang, and Chao Yang

Hyperglycemia is the consequence of blood glucose dysregulation and a driving force of diabetic complications including retinopathy, nephropathy and cardiovascular diseases. The serum and glucocorticoid inducible kinase-1 (SGK1) has been suggested in the modulation of various pathophysiological activities. However, the role of SGK1 in blood glucose homeostasis remains less appreciated. In this review, we intend to summarize the function of SGK1 in glucose level regulation and to examine the evidence supporting the therapeutic potential of SGK1 inhibitors in hyperglycemia. Ample evidence points to the controversial roles of SGK1 in pancreatic insulin secretion and peripheral insulin sensitivity, which reflects the complex interplay between SGK1 activation and blood glucose fluctuation. Furthermore, SGK1 is engaged in glucose absorption and excretion in intestine and kidney and participates in the progression of hyperglycemia-induced secondary organ damage. As a net effect, blockage of SGK1 activation via either pharmacological inhibition or genetic manipulation seems to be helpful in glucose control at varying diabetic stages.

Open access

Mark R Postma, Pia Burman, and André P van Beek

Introduction:

Adult-onset growth hormone deficiency (AGHD) is usually the last deficiency to be substituted in hypopituitarism. In children with documented GH deficiency, treatment without delay is crucial for achieving optimal effects on growth and development. In adults, it is not known whether a delay in treatment initiation influences biochemical response and the favourable physiological effects resulting from GH replacement therapy (GHRT).

Methods:

A total of 1085 GH-deficient adults from KIMS (Pfizer International Metabolic Database) were included, adequately replaced with all pituitary hormones except for GH at baseline. Patients were stratified by sex and age (20–50 years and ≥50 years) and subsequently divided into two groups below and above the median duration of unsubstituted AGHD for that subgroup. The median time of unsubstituted GHD for the total cohort was 2.53 years (P5 = 0.35, P95 = 24.42).

Results:

Beneficial effects of 4 years of GHRT were observed on lipids and quality of life in all subgroups. A decrease in waist circumference was observed only in older (>50 years) patients. There was no difference in IGF-I SDS and in GH dose required to normalize IGF-I in patients with a duration of unsubstituted AGHD above or below the median. No relevant differences were found between the groups for anthropometric measures, cardiovascular risk factors and quality of life scores.

Conclusion:

In contrast to GHD in children and adolescents, no difference could be established in treatment response between early or late initiation of GHRT in AGHD in terms of required GH dose, IGF-I, metabolic health and quality of life.

Open access

Hamidreza Mani, Yogini Chudasama, Michelle Hadjiconstantinou, Danielle H Bodicoat, Charlotte Edwardson, Miles J Levy, Laura J Gray, Janette Barnett, Heather Daly, Trevor A Howlett, Kamlesh Khunti, and Melanie J Davies

Objective

To evaluate the effectiveness of a structured education programmes in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Methods

Single-centre, randomised controlled trial, testing a single exposure to a group-based, face-to-face, structured education programme. Inclusion criteria were women with PCOS, aged 18–49 years inclusive and body mass index ≥23 kg/m2 for black and minority ethnicities or ≥25 kg/m2 for white Europeans. Primary outcome was step-count/day at 12 months. Secondary outcomes included indices of physical activity, cardiovascular risk factors, quality of life (QoL) and illness perception (IP).

Results

161 women were included (78 control, 83 intervention); 69% white; mean age 33.4 (s.d. 7.6) years, of whom 100 (48 intervention; 52 control) attended their 12-month visit (38% attrition). 77% of the intervention arm attended the education programme. No significant change in step-count was observed at 12 months (mean difference: +351 steps/day (95% confidence interval −481, +1183); P = 0.40). No differences were found in biochemical or anthropometric outcomes. The education programme improved participants’ IP in 2 dimensions: understanding their PCOS (P < 0.001) and sense of control (P < 0.01) and improved QoL in 3 dimensions: emotions (P < 0.05), fertility (P < 0.05), weight (P < 0.01) and general mental well-being (P < 0.01).

Discussion

A single exposure to structured education programme did not increase physical activity or improve biochemical markers in overweight and obese women with PCOS. However, providing a structured education in parallel to routine medical treatment can be beneficial for participants’ understanding of their condition, reducing their anxiety and improving their QoL.