The effect of iron status on the risk for developing cardiovascular disease in the healthy aging in neighborhoods of diversity across the life span (HANDLS) study sample

Olesnevich, Meghan
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University of Delaware
Background – Over the past three decades there has been considerable and conflicting debate on the impact of iron mediated oxidative damage on coronary heart disease. Objective - To determine if the baseline participants of the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span (HANDLS) study, are at risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), as determined by the Framingham Heart Study’s risk equations, and, atherosclerosis, as measured by carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), due to variations in iron status. Thereafter, to identify whether race, and/or socioeconomic status impacts the iron status of participants. Design – Participants (n = 1874) were from the HANDLS baseline sample, which included African American and white men and women ages 32-64 years old, living in Baltimore, MD and categorized by race, sex, and menopausal status, as well as socioeconomic status. Pearson correlation and stepwise regression analyses were used to determine the differences in iron status, 10-year risk for development of CHD, and IMT for these groups, in order to determine the impact of iron stores on heart disease. Results – Stepwise general linear regression found serum ferritin was one of the most significant predictors (P <0.0001) of 10-year CHD risk (R2 =0.42). Although significant correlations were found between IMT and serum ferritin (P <0.0001), further analysis with regression modeling found serum ferritin was not a significant predictor of IMT variance (P = 0.17) (R2 = 0.21). Conclusions – Elevated serum ferritin was one of the strongest predictors of 10-year CHD risk in a low to middle- income urban population. Elevated serum ferritin was not a significant predictor of atherosclerosis as determined by IMT.