The issue of adverse health effects from dental amalgam and the concurrent low-dose exposure to inorganic mercury have been scrutinized by several Swedish expert groups during the past years. Only rarely have amalgam fillings in children been related to health effects. Experimental studies in genetically disposed animals have shown that low doses of inorganic mercury can induce autoimmune glomerulonephritis. The present case-control study included 31 children with acute glomerulonephritis and 33 with Henoch-Schönlein purpura retrieved from an in-patient register for the period 1973-1992 at the county hospital in Halmstad, Sweden. The median age was 10 and 9 years, respectively, for the two diagnostic groups. Dental clinics reported amalgam burden of the patients during the year before the date of diagnosis. Corresponding data were obtained for three randomly selected controls for each case, drawn from the case records of the same dental clinics, with matching for age and sex. Odds ratios (95% confidence interval) were 1.42 (0.49, 4.11) for Henoch-Schönlein purpura, 0.59 (0.25, 1.38) for acute glomerulonephritis and 0.84 (0.40, 1.75) for both diseases combined. The results of this study did not indicate increased disease risk in relation to amalgam burden.
The Skaraborg Hypertension Project was undertaken in 1977-1981, and 1428 male and 1812 female hypertensives aged 40-69 years were involved at hypertension out-patient clinics in primary health care. Their long-term risk of acute myocardial infarction during a follow-up of 8.3 years was compared to that of age- and sex-matched controls drawn from the census register at the beginning of surveillance and to normotensive untreated controls identified in a population survey in 1977. Relative risks (with a 95% confidence interval) for acute myocardial infarction morbidity compared to the population was 0.99 (0.78, 1.25) in men and 1.36 (0.95, 1.94) in women. Corresponding figures for acute myocardial infarction mortality were 0.97 (0.68, 1.38) and 1.15 (0.67, 1.99). With normotensive controls used as reference and adjusting for smoking habits and body mass index, the relative risks for acute myocardial infarction morbidity were 1.48 (1.12, 1.98) in men and 2.34 (1.43, 3.85) in women, and for acute myocardial infarction mortality 1.66 (1.07, 2.57) and 1.71 (0.84, 3.48), respectively. Treated hypertension is a weak risk factor for acute myocardial infarction in unselected hypertensive patients.
In drug utilisation studies, the units of defined daily doses (DDD) and DDD/1000 inhabitants per day standardise for differences in dosage and population size, but not for age-related differences in drug utilisation. There is no consensus as to how age standardisation of DDD data should be carried out. Using cardiovascular drug utilisation data from Sweden and Spain, the current study compared the outcome of different methods of age standardisation. Both indirect methods (based on a comparison of observed and expected drug usage) and direct methods (using different weighting for the age categories) were used. The largest impact of standardisation was seen for diuretics. The crude rate for men and women combined was 26 DDD/1000 inhabitants per day in Costa de Ponent and 98 DDD/1000 inhabitants per day in Värmland. The corresponding figures when standardising the Costa de Ponent population were 26 and 58, respectively. Using the equivalent average rate (EAR) method, the rate for Värmland was 129 DDD/1000 inhabitants per day. Lesser but still important differences were found for beta-adrenoceptor and antihypertensives. Thus, the results of standardisation differ depending on which method is used and which drugs are evaluated. EAR is recommended for direct standardisation because of its ease of use and because it does not require the choice of a standard population.
PURPOSE: To analyze the relation between alcohol consumption and the risk of disability pension among middle-aged men. METHODS: In the mid-seventies, complete birth-year cohorts of middle-aged male residents in Malmö, Sweden, were invited to participate in a general health survey. The 3751 men with complete data who constituted the cohort in this study were followed for 11 years. Alcohol consumption was estimated from the scores obtained from a test designed to identify subjects with alcohol related problems. RESULTS: Of the 498 men granted disability pension during follow-up, 48 stated to be teetotalers. The cumulative incidence of disability pension among teetotalers was 19%, whereas, it was 12% and 16%, respectively, among men with low and high alcohol consumption. The adjusted relative risk (RR) for acquiring a disability pension (using the group with low alcohol consumption as reference) was 1.8 among abstainers and 1.3 among men with high alcohol consumption. CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol overconsumption, as well as teetotalism, showed a positive relation to disability pension, and a moderate alcohol intake was found to be beneficial with respect to the risk of future disability pension.
High-dose exposure to inorganic mercury in man can influence the immune system and in rare cases cause immune-related disease. Some experimental animals also react with autoimmunity after low doses of inorganic mercury. Glomerulonephritis and an increased formation of immunoglobulin type E (IgE) are characteristic of these reactions. A recent study of 15-year-old adolescents demonstrated an association between immunoglobulin type A (IgA) and mercury concentration in plasma (P-Hg). There was also an association between allergic disease and IgA levels. The present study included 54 male and 23 female 19-year-old students who were recruited from a cohort that had been previously defined in a survey of allergic disease. Of the students, 39 (51%) had asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis or eczema. Similar amalgam burden and P-Hg levels were observed in students with (n = 39) and without (n = 38) allergic disease (P = 0.48 and P = 0.98, respectively). As expected, IgE levels were significantly higher in the group with allergic disease (P = 0.006), but there was no association between P-Hg and IgE. The P-Hg levels were very low (median 1.50 nmol/l) and correlated significantly (r = 0.31) with the small number of amalgam surfaces (P = 0.007). Thirty-seven students had no amalgam fillings. P-Hg levels did not associate significantly with IgA, but did so with IgG2 (r = 0.33; P = 0.003). No conclusive correlation was observed between IgG2 and amalgam fillings. The findings of this study in 19-year-old subjects differ from earlier data obtained in a sample 4 years younger. The possibility of chance in the association between P-Hg levels and IgG2 must, however, be considered.
OBJECTIVE: Individual-based studies on restricted geographical settings have suggested that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may precipitate congestive heart failure. As NSAID use is very extensive, it might increase the occurrence of symptomatic heart failure in the general population. Therefore, in order to study the impact of NSAID utilisation (prescribed and over the counter) on hospitalised heart failure in an entire country (Sweden), we performed an ecological analysis, a design appropriate for studying large geographical areas. METHODS: We employed weighted (population size) ecological linear regression to study the association between outpatient utilisation of NSAIDs during 1989-1993 and hospitalised heart failure in 1993 in 283 of Sweden's 288 municipalities. Data were adjusted for age and gender proportions, socio-economic factors, latitude and utilisation of cardiovascular drugs, aspirin, low-dose aspirin and paracetamol. RESULTS: The unadjusted relative risk of hospitalised heart failure for each increase of one standard deviation of NSAID utilisation (5.8 defined daily doses/1000 inhabitants/day) was 1.23 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.18, 1.27]. After adjustments, the relative risk was 1.08 (95% CI 1.04, 1.12); the corresponding values if aspirin (non-low-dose) was included as an NSAID were 1.26 (95% CI 1.23, 1.28) and 1.07 (95% CI 1.04, 1.10). There was no such adjusted association with the utilisation of paracetamol-0.95 (95% CI 0.92, 0.98). CONCLUSION: The NSAID--heart failure association already established by individual-based studies on restricted geographical settings was corroborated in the present ecological study based on the whole population of an entire country (Sweden). Efforts should be made to promote a rational use of NSAIDs in the general population.
BACKGROUND: Short body height is associated with increased risk for coronary heart disease; however, mechanisms are not fully explained. In this study, associations between body height and serum cholesterol, non-high-density lipoprotein (non-HDL cholesterol) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol) were investigated. METHODS: Prospective cohort study of middle-aged men from Helsingborg, Sweden starting 1990. Two birth-year cohorts were invited at 37, 40 and 43 years of age; participation at baseline was 991 (68%). Serum and HDL cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, weight, height, waist and hip circumferences were measured. Non-HDL cholesterol, body mass index (BMI) and waist/ hip ratio (WHR) were calculated. The participants completed a questionnaire covering lifestyle variables. RESULTS: There were statistically significant inverse correlations between body height and serum cholesterol (-0.11) and non-HDL cholesterol (-0.12). One standard deviation, 6.7 cm, taller body height was associated with a lower serum cholesterol (-0.12 mmol/l) and a lower non-HDL cholesterol (-0.13 m mol/l; p
AIMS: An increased risk for Type 2 diabetes in male and female smokers has been associated with insulin resistance. However, this might also be the result of an adverse effect on the beta-cell. The aim of the present study was to examine the association between smoking and beta-cell function. METHODS: A community-based, cross-sectional observation study. In 1994, a randomized age-stratified sample of men and women aged > or = 40 years in the city of Skara, Sweden, were invited to a survey of cardiovascular risk factors. In all, 1,109 subjects participated (80%). After the exclusion of subjects with known hypertension or diabetes mellitus, 874 subjects remained to explore. Samples were drawn after an overnight fast. Lifestyle (smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption) was assessed using a questionnaire. Insulin resistance and insulin secretion were estimated using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA). RESULTS: Cigarette smoking men (n = 101) had a lower HOMA beta-cell value (58.1), than never-smokers (n = 158, beta-cell value 90.1, P
AIM: To explore the prevalence of atrial fibrillation in patients with hypertension and type 2 diabetes and to identify possible mechanisms for the development of atrial fibrillation. METHODS: A community-based, cross-sectional observational study was conducted in the primary health care in Skara, Sweden, and 1739 subjects (798 men, 941 women) were surveyed. Patients were categorized as those with hypertension only (n = 597); those with both hypertension and type 2 diabetes (n = 171), and those with type 2 diabetes only (n = 147). In the reference population, 824 normotensive subjects without diabetes were identified and used as controls. Participants were examined for cardiovascular risk factors including fasting blood glucose, serum insulin, blood pressure, lipids and anthropometric measures. Resting electrocardiogram (ECG) was recorded and Minnesota-coded. Insulin resistance was measured by the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA). RESULTS: Age-adjusted prevalence of atrial fibrillation was 2% in patients with hypertension only, 6% in patients with both hypertension and type 2 diabetes, 4% in patients with type 2 diabetes only and 2% in controls, respectively. Age and sex adjusted odds ratios (OR) (95% CI) were; hypertension 0.7 (0.30-1.5), combined hypertension and type 2 diabetes 3.3 (1.6-6.7), and type 2 diabetes 2.0 (0.9-4.7). The association with combined hypertension and type 2 diabetes remained significant when adjusted for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and body mass index (BMI), was attenuated with adjustment for ischemic ECG; 2.4 (1.1-5.0) and lost significance with adjustment for insulin resistance; 1.3 (0.5-3.1). CONCLUSIONS: Atrial fibrillation is associated with the combined occurrence of type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Insulin resistance may be a common underlying mechanism.
OBJECTIVE: To study awareness and treatment of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in a primary care district where a screening program for hypercholesterolaemia involving one third of the population had been conducted 7 years earlier. DESIGN: A semi-structured telephone survey on four risk factors; blood pressure, serum cholesterol, blood sugar, and smoking habits. SETTING: The study was performed in a defined area in Blekinge county in Sweden. SUBJECTS: A random sample of the general population aged 40-49 years, in total 356 people. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Awareness of individual risk factors, for cardiovascular diseases, on-going medication, and lifestyle changes in order to lower individual risks. RESULTS: A total of 95% had had their blood pressure measured at least once, compared with 69% for serum cholesterol. Twenty-two per cent had at some time been told that they had high blood pressure, and, of these, almost half (44%) received pharmacological treatment. Among the 62 subjects who were informed about hyperlipidaemia only 5% were taking a lipid-reducing drug. Among present smokers, 38% had had at least one quitting episode during the previous 2 years with a median duration of 60 days. CONCLUSION: In a general population there is a difference between blood pressure and cholesterol check-up and medicalization. Screening activities seem to raise the awareness of cardiovascular risk factors in a population, but when evaluating the tendency to change lifestyle the contagious effects of screening activities might be taken into account. Finding quick-relapsing former smokers among current non-smokers may be of importance when planning smoking cessation activities.