Background: Serum creatinine is a well-recognized risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and is also a rough measure of glomerular filtration rate. The purpose of the present study was to investigate determinants of serum creatinine in the general population.
Methods: The participants were recruited as a part of the Hordaland Health Study, and included 6952 men aged 41-49 years, 8218 women aged 41-49 years, 1470 men aged 71-74 years and 1865 women aged 71-74 years. Data on lifestyle factors, medical history and medication were obtained through questionnaires. Body size and blood pressure measurements as well as non-fasting blood samples were obtained during a health examination. Determinants of serum creatinine were identified using multiple linear and logistic regression analyses.
Results: Male and older participants had higher levels of serum creatinine than female and middle-aged participants. For older participants, creatinine was associated with serum triglycerides, CVD, upper-arm circumference and use of antihypertensive drugs as well as inversely associated with cigarette smoking. For middle-aged participants, creatinine was associated with upper-arm circumference, serum lipids and physical exercise, as well as inversely associated with smoking and alcohol intake. The associations with CVD risk factors were much stronger for older participants than for middle-aged participants and most associations were significant after adjustments as well as present within the reference range of serum creatinine.
Conclusions: In this general population sample, high serum creatinine levels were associated with risk factors for CVD. These associations were stronger in older subjects, whereas in middle-aged subjects lifestyle variables were relatively more important.