Dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the detailed relationships of HPA axis activity with weight reduction and CVD risk factors in obese patients have not been examined. This study was designed to elucidate the associations of salivary cortisol levels with weight reduction and CVD risk factors in obese patients. As a marker of HPA axis activity, we measured the morning salivary cortisol levels of 83 obese Japanese outpatients. We also examined metabolic parameters, inflammatory markers, and indicators of arterial stiffness, that is, the pulse wave velocity and cardio-ankle vascular index. All 83 obese patients underwent 3-month weight reduction therapy with lifestyle modification. At the baseline, multivariate regression analysis revealed that only logarithmic transformation of C-reactive protein (β = 0.258, P < .05) and cardio-ankle vascular index (β = 0.233, P < .05) were independent determinants of the salivary cortisol levels. However, other metabolic parameters were not significantly associated with the salivary cortisol levels. In addition, lower salivary cortisol levels and higher body weight at the baseline were the only independent determinants of successful weight loss through the weight reduction therapy (P < .01). The present study demonstrates that the baseline morning salivary cortisol levels are significantly associated with the levels of an inflammatory marker, arterial stiffness, and successful weight reduction in obese patients. Therefore, salivary cortisol could be a useful marker for assessing and managing body weight and CVD risk factors in obese patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Arterial stiffness has been identified as an independent predictor of prognostic outcomes for patients with cardiovascular disease. Although measurement of pulse wave velocity has been a widely accepted noninvasive approach to the assessment of arterial stiffness, its accuracy is hampered by changes in blood pressure. Taking the exponential relation between intravascular pressure and arterial diameter into consideration, a stiffness parameter can be obtained by plotting the natural logarithm of systolic-diastolic pressure ratio against the arterial wall extensibility. Cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI), which is calculated based on the stiffness parameter thus obtained, is theoretically independent of changes in blood pressure. With this distinct advantage, CAVI has been widely applied clinically to assess arterial stiffness in subjects with known cardiovascular diseases including those with diagnosed atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and stroke as well as those at risk, including those with hypertension, diabetes, the elderly, and the obese. Because of its enhanced sensitivity, not only has the index been used to discern subtle changes in the disease process, it has also been utilized in studying normal individuals to assess their potential risks of developing cardiovascular diseases. The primary aims of assessing arterial stiffness using CAVI are not only to aid in early detection of arteriosclerosis to allow timely treatment and change in lifestyle, but also to quantitatively evaluate the progression of disease and the effectiveness of treatment. Despite its merit of being unaffected by blood pressure, discretion in data interpretation is suggested because an elevated CAVI represents not just vascular stiffness caused by pathological changes in the arterial wall, but can also be attributed to an increased vascular tone brought about by smooth muscle contraction. Moreover, certain patient populations, such as those with an ankle-brachial index < 0.9, may give falsely low CAVI and are suggested to be excluded from study.
Integrated Blood Pressure Control 04/2013; 6:27-38. DOI:10.2147/IBPC.S34423
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