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
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.
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.
Abdominal obesity affects many aspects of women's health, and recent studies indicate that hyperandrogenicity (HA) may contribute to the excess of body fat in women. As hormone behavior research attributes male-like play patterns in childhood to the effects of androgens, the aim of the present study was to assess the potential association of such behavior with obesity in adult women. In a randomly selected sample of 40-year-old women (n = 1464), 78% volunteered to respond to a questionnaire collecting information on the effect of other variables on childhood behavior. Self-reported body weight, height, and waist and hip circumferences were used to calculate body mass index (BMI) and waist/hip ratio (WHR). Age at menarche showed an inverse association with overweight (BMI > or = 25) (odds ratio [OR] = 0.82). Reports of gender-related behavior as a child showed that playing with girls and girl toys was negatively related to both overweight and abdominal obesity (WHR > or = 0.85). Among respondents who were overweight, relationships were found for playing with boys (OR = 0.90) and fighting (OR = 1.70). The OR of playing with boy toys and fighting among respondents with abdominal obesity were increased 1.12 and 1.65, respectively. Interests in athletics as a child seemed to decrease the risk for overweight (OR = 0.89) and abdominal obesity (OR = 0.91). Furthermore, dose-response analysis between the individual exposure levels and the OR for overweight showed a negative trend for playing with girls (p = 0.002) and girl toys (p = 0.017) and a positive trend for playing with boys (p = 0.011) and fighting (p = 0.031). Among respondents with abdominal obesity, positive dose-response effects were found for playing with boys (p = 0.026) and boy toys (p = 0.036) and fighting (p = 0.008). Thus, women with an elevated WHR showed a preference to play with boys and boy toys and also fought frequently as children. This might be a sign of a relative HA in childhood ("tomboyism"). These preliminary observations suggest that HA may originate in childhood.
Abdominal obesity has a key role in the pathogenesis of prevalent and serious diseases and has been shown to be associated with an altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function, which is regulated by endocrine feedback mediated via hippocampal glucocorticoid receptors (GR).
We examined the HPA axis function by repeated salivary samples for the assessment of cortisol, as well as other endocrine, anthropometric, metabolic, and circulatory variables in middle-aged Swedish men (n = 284). With the restriction enzyme BclI, variants of the GR gene (GRL) locus were identified and two alleles with fragment lengths of 4.5 and 2.3 kilobases (kb) were detected.
The observed frequencies were 40.1% for the 2.3- and 2.3-kb, 46.2% for the 4.5- and 2.3-kb, and 13.7% for the 4.5- and 4.5-kb genotypes. The larger allele (4.5 and 4.5 kb) was associated with elevated body mass index (BMI; p
OBJECTIVES: The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the mediator of cortisol, plays a central role in the homeostatic processes. In this study, we addressed the potential impact of HPA axis activity on established anthropometric, metabolic and haemodynamic risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes mellitus and stroke. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study. SUBJECTS: A subgroup of 284 men from a population sample of 1040 at the age of 51 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Anthropometric measurements included body mass index (BMI, kg m-2), waist/hip circumference ratio (WHR) and abdominal sagittal diameter (D). Overnight fasting values of blood glucose, serum insulin, triglycerides, total, low (LDL) and high density (HDL) lipoprotein cholesterol, as well as resting heart rate and blood pressure, were also determined. By using repeated diurnal salivary cortisol measurements during everyday conditions, methods were developed to characterize the status of the HPA axis, and set in relation to the anthropometric, metabolic and haemodynamic measurements. RESULTS: In bivariate analyses, risk factors intercorrelated in clusters of anthropometric (BMI, WHR, D), metabolic (insulin, glucose and their ratio, triglycerides, cholesterol [total and LDL], HDL cholesterol [negative]) and haemodynamic (systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate) measurements. This was also the case in the two-dimensional scaling analysis, where, however, HDL separated out. A normal HPA axis status, characterized by high variability and morning cortisol values, as well as a clear response to a standardized lunch and dexamethasone suppression test, was then introduced by a statistical weighting procedure. This did not essentially change the results of either the bivariate correlation matrix or the two-dimensional scaling analysis. A similar introduction of a pathological HPA axis, characterized by low variability and morning cortisol values, a poor lunch-induced cortisol response and a blunted dexamethasone suppression of cortisol, changed the results markedly. Now strong and consistent correlations were found not only within but also between different clusters of risk factors, which also congregated into one distinct cluster, again except for HDL cholesterol. CONCLUSIONS: These results disclose the prospect of an overriding function of a pathological HPA axis on other, established risk factors for CVD, type 2 diabetes and stroke. Its close association to HPA axis dysfunction may explain the previously reported powerful risk indication of abdominal obesity for the diseases mentioned. The HPA axis abnormality has been reported to be a characteristic consequence of frequently repeated or chronic environmental stress challenges.
Previous epidemiological studies have suggested that psychiatric symptoms are associated with obesity and abdominal distribution of body fat in women. The aim of the present study was to examine this in middle-aged men. In 1992 a cluster selected cohort of 1040 men born in 1944 (participation rate 79.9%) was examined. Registrations of symptoms of depression and anxiety, sleep disturbances, psychosomatic disease as well as degree of life satisfaction were analyzed in relation to body mass index (BMI) and the waist/hip circumference ratio (WHR). In univariate analyses both BMI and WHR correlated with these factors. BMI and WHR were, however, closely interrelated (p = 0.61), necessitating analyses of separate, independent relationships in multivariate analyses. When adjusted for WHR all the significant relationships with BMI disappeared. In contrast the WHR, adjusted for BMI, showed remaining significant associations with the use of anxiolytics (p = 0.018), hypnotics (p = 0.029), antidepressive drugs (p = 0.008), degree of melancholy (p = 0.002), and life satisfaction (p = 0.002, negative), difficulties to sleep (p = 0.014) and fall asleep (p = 0.047), tendency to wake up from sleep (borderline, p = 0.070) and dyspepsia (p
Despite several studies indicating that social gradients are predictive of cardiovascular mortality, the pathogenetic mechanisms remain incompletely understood.
A population sample of 51-year-old men (N = 284) was divided into a socioeconomic gradient with manual laborers, civil servants, and university graduates. Anthropometric measurements were registered. Cortisol concentrations were measured in saliva, collected repeatedly during an ordinary working day, and a low-dose dexamethasone suppression test was performed.
Lower socioeconomic status was associated with visceral obesity and higher cortisol values in relation to perceived stress. However, total cortisol secretion over the day of study was not elevated. The regulation of cortisol secretion showed less plasticity and dexamethasone inhibition was less efficient in the men in the lower socioeconomic status group than in those with a higher socioeconomic status. These are known consequences of long term stress. Longer duration in low socioeconomic conditions seemed to worsen these phenomena.
It was concluded that a low socioeconomic status is associated with perturbed cortisol secretion, which is elevated in relation to perceived stress. When the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is subjected to prolonged increases in cortisol elicited by chronic stress, the regulation of cortisol secretion is affected, indicating neuroendocrine dysregulations. These observations may provide a means for understanding the association of socioeconomic impairments with visceral obesity and the social inequality in risk for prevalent and serious diseases.
The associations were examined in women between personality traits and steroid hormones, particularly androgens, as well as polymorphisms in genes regulating androgen concentration and effects. Women, all 42 years of age and premenopausal (n = 270), were recruited randomly. Conventional "masculine" and "feminine" personality traits were examined by questionnaire and set in relation to psychosocial and socioeconomic conditions, behavior in childhood, hormones, risk factors for disease, and polymorphisms in microsatellites in the CYP aromatase and the androgen receptor gene. The proportions of personality traits considered as being dominated by "masculinity" (M) or "femininity" (F) were 44.9%, respectively 15.0%, the rest consisting of a combination of M and F (33.2%) or "undifferentiated" (6.9%). M characteristics were positively associated with education, sporting, self-confidence, and good adaptation to work situation. M scores correlated with reports of "tomboyism" as girls. There was essentially no difference in hormones or disease risk factors between M and F women. The number of (CAG) repeats in the microsatellite of the transactivating domain of the androgen receptor was 19 (2.3; M and SD). M characteristics were more pronounced in the presence of longer repeat stretches (n > 20). No associations were found with F scores. There were no significant associations to the number of tetranucleotide repeats (TTTA) in the fourth introne of the aromatase gene. It was concluded that a majority of women showed M type of personality traits, associated with normal hormones, somatic health, and a long microsatellite in the transactivating domain of the AR gene.