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This multicentre European study evaluated, in a young-to-middle-aged healthy population without carotid atherosclerosis, the gender-related differences in carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and its short-term (3-year) progression, and whether these differences are related to different vascular ageing rate, cardiovascular risk profile or different susceptibility to family predisposition to cardiovascular diseases (CVD). 366 men and 422 women (age between 30 and 60 years) underwent B-mode carotid ultrasound at baseline and after 3-year follow-up period. IMT in 3 carotid segments was higher in men than in women (p < 0.0001 for all segments). When evaluated according to age decade, differences between men and women disappeared in the 6th decade, as in this decade a 3-year IMT progression rate accelerated in women (p < 0.05 as compared to the 4th and 5th age decade). Age was a major determinant of baseline all-segment IMT in women; in men all-segment IMT was influenced by age and LDL-cholesterol. IMT progression did not correlate with established cardiovascular risk factors, their short-term changes or family predisposition to CVD. Yet, a 3-year IMT progression in common carotid artery (CCA) was higher in men (p = 0.01) and women (p < 0.01) in whom relative Framingham risk increased during the corresponding period. This study provides reference values on IMT and its short-term progression in healthy young-to-middle-aged population, and demonstrates gender-related differences in the susceptibility of carotid wall to ageing and LDL-cholesterol. Increase in Framingham risk accelerated a short-term CCA IMT progression rate in both genders, whereas family predisposition to CVD did not influence carotid IMT. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


M Kozàkovà, C Palombo, C Morizzo, J J Nolan, T Konrad, J M Dekker, B Balkau, P M Nilsson. Gender-specific differences in carotid intima-media thickness and its progression over three years: a multicenter European study. Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD. 2013 Feb;23(2):151-8

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PMID: 21906922

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