Objectives: Arterial stiffness is an important measure of pathologic changes in the arterial system and is associated with cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. Early identification of an increase in arterial stiffness in young persons may improve cardiovascular health outcomes. The objectives were to evaluate the sex and ethnic differences in arterial stiffness levels among young adults.
Methods: Demographic information, body size, blood pressure, and serum lipid measures were obtained cross-sectionally among tri-ethnic college students in an urban setting (N=491). Arterial pulse pressure (APP) was mathematically derived as a surrogate measure of arterial stiffness. Multiple regression models were fitted to determine the adjusted APP levels.
Results: The average (plus or minus standard error) age of participants were 21.2 (+/- .2) years. No differences were seen in age or body mass index (BMI) between White non-Hispanic (n=160), Hispanic (n=165), and Black non-Hispanic (n=166). Males were slightly older (21.7 +/- .3 years) and heavier (24.6 +/- 1 .3 kg/m2) than females (20.7 +/- .2 years and 22.4 +/- .2 kg/m2). Adjusted APP was higher in males (41.8 +/- .6 mm Hg) compared to their female counterparts (38.9 +/- .6) (P<.01). However, ethnic variations in adjusted APP were not significant.
Conclusions: Variations in arterial stiffness levels by sex exist among young adults. Further exploration of important cardiovascular risk among young individuals is recommended.