Risk for hypertension and diabetes has not been conclusively found to be a result of cadmium exposure. A population-based study was conducted in 2009 to examine the correlations of urinary cadmium, a good biomarker of long-term cadmium exposure, with hypertension and diabetes in persons aged 35 years and older who lived in the 12 cadmium-contaminated rural villages in northwestern Thailand. A total of 5273 persons were interviewed and screened for urinary cadmium, hypertension, and diabetes. The geometric mean level of urinary cadmium for women (2.4+/-2.3 microg/g creatinine) was significantly greater than that for men (2.0+/-2.2 microg/g creatinine). Hypertension was presented in 29.8% of the study population and diabetes was detected in 6.6%. The prevalence of hypertension significantly increased from 25.0% among persons in the lowest tertile of urinary cadmium to 35.0% in the highest tertile. In women, the rate of hypertension significantly increased with increasing urinary cadmium levels in both ever and never smokers, after adjusting for age, alcohol consumption, body mass index, and diabetes. In men, such association was less significantly found in never smokers. The study revealed no significant association between urinary cadmium and diabetes in either gender. Our study supports the hypothesis that environmental exposure to cadmium may increase the risk of hypertension. Risk for diabetes in relation to cadmium exposure remains uncertain in this exposed population.
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