Cadmium body burden, hypertension, and changes in blood pressure over time: results from a prospective cohort study in American Indians

J Am Soc Hypertens. 2018 Jun;12(6):426-437.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.jash.2018.03.002. Epub 2018 Mar 10.


American Indian communities are at greater risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease than the general US population and are exposed to greater cadmium levels. However, cadmium's effect on blood pressure is unclear. This study assesses the association between baseline urinary cadmium and longitudinal changes in blood pressure in American Indian communities. Cadmium was measured in 3047 baseline urine samples from Strong Heart Study participants from three geographic areas. Longitudinal changes in blood pressure across three study visits (1989-1999) were modeled using linear mixed models by baseline log urinary cadmium to creatinine ratio. Hypertension risk was evaluated using interval-censored survival analysis. Higher levels of urinary cadmium at baseline were associated with faster rates of increase in diastolic and systolic blood pressure (P [trend] = .001 and .02, respectively). The estimated change in diastolic and systolic blood pressures per year was 0.18 mm Hg (0.05-0.31) and 0.62 mm Hg (0.37-0.87) in the upper quintile of cadmium level compared with -0.11 mm Hg (-0.24 to 0.02) and 0.21 mm Hg (-0.04 to 0.46) in the lowest, respectively. A one-unit increase in log-transformed urinary cadmium was associated with 10% greater hypertension risk (95% confidence interval: 1.01-1.20). In conclusion, blood pressure of individuals with greater baseline levels of urinary cadmium increased at a faster rate relative to those with lower levels.

Keywords: Heavy metals; high blood pressure; indigenous population.

Publication types

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