Dr Julie Karand | Exploring Factors Linked to Arterial Stiffness in Tanzanian Adults
About this episode
The arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to all parts the body. Arterial stiffness, which describes the rigidity of the arteries’ walls, has been shown to increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death across the globe. As such, investigating the factors linked to arterial stiffness is critical, as it could help doctors to identify those at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Read More
Most studies exploring the factors associated with arterial stiffness have been conducted in high-income nations. However, cardiovascular disease is a key cause of death in middle- and low-income countries too, where there may be unique factors that contribute to arterial stiffness.
Dr Julie Karand recently investigated the factors associated with arterial stiffness in Tanzanian adults. Her team aimed to identify lifestyle choices and other factors that are unique to Tanzanians, as this population has been neglected in previous studies.
The team’s study involved over 800 Tanzanian adults of different ages and genders. Dr Karand and her colleagues asked participants to complete a survey that included questions about their lifestyle, health, occupation, underlying medical conditions, and demographics. The researchers then recorded their blood pressure and level of arterial stiffness.
To measure arterial stiffness, they used an ultrasound device with electrodes that were attached to the participants’ bodies. This system can measure the speed at which pressure waves generated in the heart propagate along the arteries – known as pulse wave velocity. When blood vessels are stiffer, pressure waves move along them faster, and the pulse wave velocity is higher.
Some of the findings collected by Dr Karand and her colleagues were consistent with those collected in high-income countries. For instance, they found that older age and high blood pressure were associated with increased arterial stiffness. Female participants with a higher body mass index, as well as greater waist and arm circumference, tended to record a higher pulse wave velocity. In addition, dysregulated blood glucose appeared to be linked to elevated pulse wave velocity values for both men and women.
The researchers also observed risk factors for high arterial stiffness that had not been consistently recorded in previous research. For women, these factors included increased haemoglobin levels and the number of years since last menses. For men, being married as opposed to single, and doing manual labour rather than working in an office tended to be associated with high arterial stiffness.
Interestingly, the researchers also found that male participants with high pulse wave velocity were more likely to be HIV positive, while women with high arterial stiffness were more commonly not infected with HIV.
The recent study by Dr Karand and her colleagues is among the first to examine sex-specific factors linked to arterial stiffness in a large cohort of African participants. Her team’s work could help to identify new region-specific risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which could inform the creation of more effective interventions.
Original Article Reference
Summary of the paper ‘Sex-dependent correlates of arterial stiffness in Tanzanian adults’, in Tropical Medicine & International Health, doi.org/10.1111/tmi.13676
For further information, you can connect with Dr Julie C. Karand at firstname.lastname@example.org
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