Background Arterial stiffness assessed by carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) is an independent predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. We aimed to investigate how various measures of obesity affect arterial stiffness.
Methods We conducted a population-based cross-sectional survey in 8,042 South Indians above the age of 20 years. Following completion of a detailed medical history questionnaire, all participants underwent haemodynamic screening including brachial and central blood pressure, and PWV measurements using a high-fidelity applanation tonometry. The study included anthropometric measurements and fasting blood for total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), high density lipoprotein (HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL) and blood glucose (BG) levels. After the exclusion of people with previous history of diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia on drug therapy, 5,841 subjects (mean age 41.6 years; 58% women) constituted the study sample
Results In an univariate analysis, PWV correlated positively with age, mean blood pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR), body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist to hip ratio (WHR), body fat percent (BF%), TC, TG, LDL and BG levels (P <0.001) and negatively with HDL levels (P=0.005). In a multivariate regression analysis, majority of the PWV variability in the model was accounted for by MAP and age, (cumulative adjusted R2 change of 32.79% as compared to the total adjusted R2 change of 35.25%). However, BMI (β= 0.042; adjusted R2 change=2.83%; p<0.001) independently correlated with PWV and its contribution to the PWV variability was far more significant compared to LDL, BG and TG (cumulative adjusted R2 change=1.08%). Multivariate regression analysis using the WC, WHR, or BF% instead of the BMI continued to demonstrate a significant independent effect of obesity parameters on PWV.
Conclusion: In a large a population-based cross-sectional survey the study demonstrates a positive, independent association between obesity parameters and increased arterial stiffness.