Aim/hypothesis: Increased intimal medial thickness (IMT) of the carotid arteries is considered a useful marker of atherosclerosis. The aim of this study was to compare the intimal medial thickness values in urban non-diabetic and diabetic South Indian subjects who have a high risk of coronary artery disease.
Methods: The subjects for this study were 140 diabetic and 103 non-diabetic control subjects matched with them for age and sex selected from The Chennai Urban Population Study which is an ongoing epidemiological study. Intimal medial thickness of the right common carotid artery was determined using high resolution B mode ultrasonography.
Results: The mean intimal medial thickness values of the diabetic subjects (0.95 +/- 0.31 mm) were significantly higher than those of the non-diabetic (0.74 +/- 0.14 mm) subjects (p < 0.001). Both in the normal and diabetic subjects, these values increased with age. At any given age, the diabetic subjects had higher values than the non-diabetic subjects but the difference reached statistical significance after age 50 years (p < 0.05). Intimal medial thickness showed a correlation with age, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, waist:hip ratio and systolic blood pressure in non-diabetic subjects and with age and duration of diabetes in the diabetic subjects. Multivariate linear regression analysis showed that age and diabetes were the major risk factors for intimal medial thickness.
Conclusion/interpretation: Diabetic subjects have higher intimal medial thickness values than non-diabetic subjects. Diabetes and age are the most important risk factors associated with increased intimal medial thickness in this South Indian cohort.