Background: High prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors has been observed in Spain along with low incidence of acute myocardial infarction. Our objective was to determine the trends of cardiovascular risk factor prevalence between 1995 and 2005 in the 35-74-year-old population of Gerona, Spain.
Design: Comparison of cross-sectional studies were conducted in random population samples in 1995, 2000, and 2005 at Gerona, Spain.
Methods: An electrocardiogram was obtained, along with standardized measurements of body mass index, lipid profile, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, glycaemia, energy expenditure in physical activity, smoking, use of lipid-lowering and antihypertensive medications, and cardiovascular risk. Prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity was calculated and standardized for age.
Results: A total of 7571 individuals (52.0% women) were included (response rate 72%). Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol >3.4 mmol/l (130 mg/dl) (49.7%) and hypertension (39.1%) were the most prevalent cardiovascular risk factors. In 1995, 2000 and 2005, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreased in both men and women: 4.05-3.91-3.55 mmol/l (156-151-137 mg/dl) and 3.84-3.81-3.40 mmol/l (148-147-131 mg/dl), respectively. Increases were observed in lipid-lowering drug use (5.7-6.3-9.6% in men and 4.0-5.8-8.0% in women), controlled hypertension (14.8-35.4-37.7% in men and 21.3-36.9-45.0% in women); (all P-trends <0.01), and obesity (greatest for men: 17.5-26.0-22.7%, P-trends=0.020). Prevalence of myocardial infarction or possibly abnormal Q waves in electrocardiogram also increased significantly (3.9-4.7-6.4%, P-trends=0.018).
Conclusions: The cardiovascular risk factor prevalence change in Gerona was marked in this decade by a shift of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol distributions to the left, independent of the increase in lipid-lowering drug use, and better hypertension control with increased use of antihypertensive drugs.