OBJECTIVES: Previous studies have suggested that abnormal levels of cortisol and testosterone might increase the risk of serious somatic diseases. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a 5-year follow-up study in middle-aged men. METHODS: A population-based cohort study conducted in 1995 amongst 141 Swedish men born in 1944, in whom a clinical examination supplemented by medical history aimed to disclose the presence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, stroke), type 2 diabetes and hypertension were performed at baseline and at follow-up in the year 2000. In addition, salivary cortisol levels were measured repeatedly over the day. Serum testosterone concentrations were also determined. Using the baseline data, an algorithm was constructed, which classified the secretion pattern of cortisol and testosterone from each individual as being normal or abnormal. RESULTS: By the end of follow-up, men with an abnormal hormone secretion pattern (n = 73) had elevated mean arterial pressure (P = 0.003), fasting insulin (P = 0.009) and insulin : glucose ratio (P = 0.005) compared with men with a normal secretion pattern (n = 68). Body mass index, waist circumference, and waist : hip ratio were significantly elevated in both groups. However, the 5-year incidence of CVD, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension were significantly higher (P
In a prospective study of risk factors for ischaemic heart disease 792 54 year old men selected by year of birth (1913) and residence in Gothenburg agreed to attend for questioning and a battery of anthropometric and other measurements in 1967. Thirteen years later these baseline findings were reviewed in relation to the numbers of men who had subsequently suffered a stroke, ischaemic heart disease, or death from all causes. Neither quintiles nor deciles of initial indices of obesity (body mass index, sum of three skinfold thickness measurements, waist or hip circumference) showed a significant correlation with any of the three end points studied. Statistically significant associations were, however, found between the waist to hip circumference ratio and the occurrence of stroke (p = 0.002) and ischaemic heart disease (p = 0.04). When the confounding effect of body mass index or the sum of three skinfold thicknesses was accounted for the waist to hip circumference ratio was significantly associated with all three end points. This ratio, however, was not an independent long term predictor of these end points when smoking, systolic blood pressure, and serum cholesterol concentration were taken into account. These results indicate that in middle aged men the distribution of fat deposits may be a better predictor of cardiovascular disease and death than the degree of adiposity.
Recent prospective, epidemiological research has demonstrated the power of an increased waist/hip circumference ratio (WHR) to predict both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) in men and women. Obesity, defined as an increased total body fat mass, seems to interact synergistically in the development of NIDDM, but not of CVD. Increased WHR with obesity (abdominal obesity) seems to be associated with a cluster of metabolic risk factors, as well as hypertension. This metabolic syndrome is closely linked to visceral fat mass. Increased WHR without obesity may instead be associated with lift style factors such as smoking, alcohol intake, physical inactivity, coagulation abnormalities, psychosocial, psychological and psychiatric factors. Direct observations show, and the risk factor associations further strengthen the assumption, that abdominal (visceral) obesity is more closely associated to NIDDM than CVD, while an increased WHR without obesity may be more closely linked to CVD than NIDDM. It remains to be established to what extent, if any, an increased WHR in lean men, and particularly in lean women, indicates fat distribution. Other components of the WHR measurement might be of more importance in this connection.
A longitudinal population study of 1462 women, aged 38-60 years, was carried out in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1968-69. In univariate analysis anthropometric variables indicating centrally localized adipose tissue (waist circumference, the ratio of waist to hip circumference and the subscapular skinfold) showed significant age-standardized positive associations with the occurrence (prevalence + incidence data) of endometrial carcinoma. Incidence data suggested that measurements of centrally localized adipose tissue might be of predictive value for this malignancy as well as for ovarian carcinoma. In contrast, measurements of generalized obesity (body weight or body mass index) or peripherally localized adipose tissue (triceps skinfold) showed no associations to these malignancies. No relationship was observed between the anthropometric variables studied and breast carcinoma. The association observed between endometrial and ovarian carcinomas with central adipose tissue did, however, not remain in multivariate analysis when generalized obesity was taken into account. Centrally localized adipose tissue is known to be associated with endocrine abberations including irregular ovulation and menstruation, re-emphasizing the importance of endocrine factors for the pathogenesis of endometrial and ovarian carcinomas. No positive association was found between development of the carcinomas and initial measurements of blood glucose, serum lipids or blood pressure, found to be elevated in cross-sectional studies. An increase in these variables therefore probably are parallel phenomena rather than predictors. The women with endometrial or breast carcinomas smoked more than the remaining women. Although the number of end-points observed was limited these results suggest that measurements of adipose tissue distribution might be a valuable addition to the predictors of endometrial and ovarian carcinomas.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
We studied fat distribution and metabolic risk factors in 434 38-year old women selected from population registrars in 5 cities in different parts of Europe. In the present study we focussed on the geographical variation in serum concentrations of free testosterone and its relation to measures of obesity, fat distribution and indicators of cardiovascular risk (serum lipids, insulin, and blood pressure). There were significant differences in free testosterone levels (F = 5.4, p less than 0.001) with lowest levels in Polish women (mean +/- SEM: 1.56 +/- 0.08 pg/ml) and highest in women from Italy (2.07 +/- 0.12 pg/ml). In the pooled data, free testosterone levels were correlated with several anthropometric variables (strongest with subscapular/triceps ratio r = 0.27, with subscapular skinfold and waist/thigh circumference ratio r = 0.25 p-values less than 0.001). In addition, free testosterone was positively correlated with serum total cholesterol (r = 0.11), HDL/total cholesterol fraction (r = 0.12), serum insulin (r = 0.20) and diastolic blood pressure (r = 0.15). These associations remained significant after adjustment for body mass index and waist/thigh ratio (not for diastolic blood pressure) but were no longer significant after further adjustment for insulin levels. There were considerable differences in strength of the associations mentioned between the 5 centers. We conclude that degree of obesity, fat distribution and serum levels of free testosterone all, to a limited degree, contribute to the metabolic profile of randomly selected 38-year old women but that adjustment for such variables increases the differences in metabolic profiles between women from different centers of Europe.
Some studies have shown a clustering of obesity, insulin and hypertension. The present study was performed to further characterize these associations.
In a population of 51-year-old men (n=284), measurements of systolic and diastolic blood pressure were analyzed in relation to general obesity (body mass index) and central obesity (waist: hip circumference ratio and abdominal sagittal diameter), and to the fasting insulin and insulin: glucose ratio as an approximation of insulin sensitivity. The regulation of diurnal cortisol secretion was examined in repeated salivary samples.
Linear regression analysis showed that all three parameters of obesity were significantly and strongly related to both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, more powerfully than insulin, glucose and insulin sensitivity (insulin: glucose ratio). Stepwise multiple regression showed that only central obesity, measured as the abdominal sagittal diameter, remained significantly (P
The aim of the present study was to evaluate potential differences in psychosocial status and work environment between native Swedes and immigrants living in Gothenburg, Sweden. A number of psychiatric, occupational and socio-economic factors were analysed by questionnaire in 1040 men born in 1944 out of 1302 selected. The immigrants (n = 182) who participated in the study used psychopharmacological drugs more extensively than native Swedes. They were more dissatisfied, had traits of depression, frequent sleeping problems, dyspepsia and headaches compared with the native Swedes. The immigrants were more often out of work, and those who were gainfully employed were more dissatisfied with their current work and their colleagues, had a lower influence on the work situation, felt a lower degree of work demands, more seldom attempted to alter their work situation when having problems, and had a more frequent desire to change their type of work. Furthermore, immigrants more often than Swedes were living under poor housing standards, indicating a low socio-economic status. They felt a low degree of time pressure and had more often experienced a serious life event compared to native Swedes. It was concluded that immigrants were more affected by psychiatric, occupational and socio-economic disabilities and handicaps than native Swedes, indicating that immigrants are a vulnerable group in Swedish society.
To determine whether or not the lower rate of coronary disease in France, in comparison with Sweden, might be explained by different cardiovascular risk profiles, a cross-sectional analysis (first step of a longitudinal study) of comparable samples of automotive workers was carried out in corporate occupational health clinics of Renault and Volvo. Traditional cardiovascular risk factors were evaluated and the Framingham coronary risk was estimated for 1000 randomly selected 45-50 years old Caucasian males from each company. Compared with the Frenchmen, the Swedish men consisted of more white collar workers and were slightly older. After adjustment for age and blue/white collar status, the Swedish men showed lower body mass indexes, waist to hip rations and heart rates, lower frequency of treatment of hypercholesterolemia and diabetes than the Frenchmen. The Swedish males also exhibited higher averages of blood cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and glucose, but lower frequencies of hypercholestrolemia and diabetes, and a higher frequency of family histories of cardiovascular disease. Blood pressure, hypertension prevalence, triglycerides level, and high density lipoprotein (HDL) did not differ between the groups. The average number of traditional risk factors was 1.1/person for the Frenchmen and 0.8/person for the Swedes. However, the coronary risk as estimated using the Framingham index was not different between the groups. This, together with the more frequent family history of cardiovascular disease in Swedish men, suggests a lower susceptibility to risk factors as a possible explanation for the lower cardiovascular disease prevalence reported in France, and/or the possibility that factors not measured were involved.
Several studies have demonstrated that immigrants in Scandinavian countries are more affected by psychosocial disabilities than the native-born population. The aim of the study was to evaluate the possible impact of work-related stressors on psychiatric health in immigrants compared to native Swedes. The study included a cluster selected cohort of 1,040 men born in 1944 (participation ratio = 79.9%), living in Gothenburg, Sweden. Of these, 182 (18.0%) were immigrants, defined as being born outside Sweden. Information on work conditions and psychiatric health were obtained by self-administered questionnaires. Employment in native Swedes showed inverse associations to frequent use of anxiolytics [relative risk (RR) = 0.2; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.06-0.4], frequent use of hypnotics (RR = 0.1; CI = 0.02-0.2) and use of antidepressants (RR = 0.3; CI = 0.2-0.5). None of the employed immigrants used anxiolytics or hypnotics frequently. Swedes seemed to display a number of psychiatric ill-health factors related to working conditions. These factors included frequent use of hypnotics, frequent insomnia, use of antidepressants, a high degree of melancholy, and were related to shift work, dissatisfaction with current work and management and a low degree of influence on work situation, often related to a high degree of stress at work and a frequent desire to change type of work. These associations were not seen in immigrants, apart from the risk of frequent insomnia (RR = 4.7; CI = 1.2-18.3) and dissatisfaction with colleagues (RR = 10.4; CI = 2.2-48.8) when working in shift. With a few exceptions, non-optimal working environment was associated with a low degree of life satisfaction in both groups. It was hypothesized that optimal working conditions are important for maintaining psychiatric health, and that immigrants, when employed, seem less affected by impaired working conditions than native Swedes.
Samples of 38-year-old women were randomly selected from five European centers: Ede (The Netherlands), Warsaw (Poland), Gothenburg (Sweden), Verona (northern Italy), and Afragola (Naples-southern Italy). In total, 452 healthy women were studied. Anthropometric measurements were taken by one operator in each country after common training of all operators and blood parameters of all women were determined in one laboratory. Body mass index (BMI) was different among centers, mainly due to the higher values in southern Italy. Women from southern Europe had more central fat distribution than women from north European centers. Fasting serum insulin was higher in women from Poland and The Netherlands than in the other three centers. After adjustment for BMI, fasting insulin was significantly related to subscapular skinfold, subscapular to triceps skinfold ratio, waist circumference, and waist to thigh circumference ratio, although the partial correlations varied somewhat between the centers. In the pooled data, waist circumference showed the highest correlations with fasting serum insulin when adjusted for BMI. Fasting serum insulin showed significant partial correlations, adjusted for BMI, with lipid profile and blood pressure only in women from the two Italian centers. In the pooled data, fasting serum insulin was significantly positively correlated with serum triglycerides and total cholesterol and negatively to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and HDL/total cholesterol, independently of BMI and waist circumference. While blood pressure was not related to insulin in the pooled women, when adjusted for BMI and waist circumference; here as well, there were some differences in relationships between the centers.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)