Abdominal obesity vs general obesity for identifying arterial stiffness, subclinical atherosclerosis and wave reflection in healthy, diabetics and hypertensive

BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2012 Feb 1;12:3. doi: 10.1186/1471-2261-12-3.


Background: Our aim was to analyze the relationship between abdominal obesity and general obesity, with subclinical atherosclerosis, arterial stiffness and wave reflection in healthy, diabetics and hypertensive subjects.

Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was made of 305 individuals (diabetics 32.8%, hypertensive subjects 37.0% and healthy individuals 30.2%).

Measurements: Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), body fat percentage (BFP) and waist/height ratio (WHtR). Arterial stiffness was assessed according to pulse wave velocity (PWV), intima-media thickness of the common carotid artery (C-IMT), augmentation index (central and peripheral), ankle-brachial index (ABI), and central and peripheral pulse pressure.

Results: WC and WHtR showed a positive correlation to PWV and C-IMT in the studied groups. After adjusting for age, gender, high sensitivity c-reactive protein, serum glucose and the presence of diabetes, hypertension, smoking, dyslipidemia, antidiabetic drugs, lipid-lowering drugs, and atherosclerotic plaques, it was seen that for every 0.1 point increase in WHtR, and for every cm increase in WC, the PWV increased 0.041 and 0.029 m/sec, and C-IMT increased 0.001 mm and 0.001 mm, respectively.

Conclusions: The measures of abdominal obesity (WHtR and WC) correlates better than BMI and BFP with arterial stiffness evaluated by PWV, and with subclinical atherosclerosis evaluated by C-IMT, independently of the presence of diabetes or hypertension.

Trial registration: Clinical Trials.gov Identifier: NCT01325064.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ankle Brachial Index
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnosis
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Obesity, Abdominal / complications
  • Obesity, Abdominal / physiopathology*
  • Vascular Stiffness / physiology*
  • Waist Circumference / physiology


  • C-Reactive Protein

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01325064