Associations between lung and endothelial function in early middle age
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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Chronic lung disease is associated with impaired endothelial function and this may be a risk factor for poor cardiovascular health. It is unknown if there is an association between lung and endothelial function in the general population. We investigated associations between lung and endothelial function in a population-based cohort of 38-year-old men and women. METHODS: Systemic endothelial function was measured using peripheral arterial tonometry to calculate the Framingham reactive hyperaemia index. Lung function was assessed using spirometry, plethysmographic lung volumes, airway conductance and gas transfer. Associations between lung and endothelial function were assessed with and without adjustment for potential confounding factors using regression analyses. RESULTS: Sex modified the association between lung and endothelial function. Among women, lower values of pre- and post-bronchodilator spirometry, total lung capacity and functional residual capacity (FRC) were associated with worse endothelial function (P < 0.05). These associations persisted after adjustment for smoking, asthma diagnoses, fitness and body mass index. Associations were weaker among men: only FRC, airway conductance and post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1 )/forced vital capacity (FVC) ratios were associated with endothelial function. Endothelial function was not associated with gas transfer in either sex. CONCLUSION: Lower lung volumes and airflow obstruction are associated with endothelial dysfunction among women. There is weaker evidence for an association between airway and endothelial function in men. These findings may partly explain the increased risk of cardiovascular disease among people with poor lung function, but suggest that there are sex differences in this association.
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