Cadmium exposure and cardiovascular disease in the 2005 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Environ Res. 2011 Jan;111(1):171-6. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2010.10.006. Epub 2010 Nov 5.


Background: Limited epidemiologic data are available concerning the cardiovascular effects of cadmium exposure, although recent studies suggest associations with myocardial infarction and peripheral arterial disease. We examined the associations of cadmium exposure with cardiovascular disease in nationally representative general Korean adults.

Methods: We used cross-sectional data on blood cadmium and self-reported diagnoses of ischemic heart disease (IHD), stroke, and hypertension in a sub-sample of 1908 adults, aged 20 years and older, who participated in the 2005 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). We used survey logistic regression models accounting for the complex sampling design to estimate the odds ratios (OR), adjusting for age, education, income, alcohol, smoking, body mass index, waist circumference, family history of hypertension, blood pressure, and blood lead.

Results: The geometric mean of blood cadmium was 1.53 μg/L. After adjusting for potential confounders, an interquartile range (IQR) increase in blood cadmium (0.91 μg/L) was found to be associated with an increased risk for IHD (OR 2.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-3.4). An IQR increase in blood cadmium was found to be associated with an elevated risk for hypertension only among men (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1-1.8) but not among women. No association was observed with stroke in both genders.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that cadmium in blood may be associated with an increased risk for IHD and hypertension in the general Korean adult population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anthropometry
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cadmium / blood*
  • Cadmium Poisoning / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / chemically induced
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Cadmium