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Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Date:6/16/2008

Those with highest levels at almost twice the risk, regardless of diabetes, study finds

MONDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- A new study has found a strong association between insulin resistance and peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which leads to a four-to-five times increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

People with the highest levels of insulin resistance (often a precursor to diabetes) had nearly twice as much PAD, regardless of other cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes. For each quartile of insulin resistance, the risk of PAD increased by about 25 percent.

According to the American Heart Association, PAD involves a narrowing of the arteries leading to the extremities, most notably the legs. It can cause cramping and tiredness in the limbs.

The researchers analyzed data from more than 3,200 adults enrolled in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004. They compared PAD incidence and insulin sensitivity using a model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), a test derived from fasting glucose and insulin values.

The overall prevalence of PAD was 5.5 percent. Insulin resistance was independently associated with PAD after the researchers adjusted for age, gender, race/ethnicity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, smoking, body mass index, chronic kidney disease and blood levels of c-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

"We found a roughly 25 percent increase in the risk of PAD for each one-quartile increase in HOMA-IR, a finding that remained consistent despite adjustment for typical atherosclerosis risk factors related to insulin resistance such as body mass index and glycemic [blood sugar] control," study lead author Dr. Reena L. Pande, of the cardiovascular division at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said in a prepared statement.

"Even after excluding subjects with diabetes, there were graded increases in PAD prevalence with increasing HOMA
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