The aim of this study was to investigate the association between individual risk factors and coronary artery calcification (CAC), as a marker of subclinical cardiovascular disease, in a population-based nested cross-sectional study of midlife women. Anthropometric and metabolic data from 295 women from the South of Brazil were analyzed. Habitual physical activity was assessed by pedometer. CAC was assessed by a multi-detector computed tomography system. Average Agatston score was used to stratify participants as CAC > 0 and CAC = 0. Women with CAC > 0 (34.7%) were older (58.7 ± 5.4 vs. 56.3 ± 5.2 years, p < .001) and had higher prevalence of central adiposity (71 vs. 59%, p = .04) and hypertension (71 vs. 52%, p = .002) than women in the CAC = 0 group. Hormone therapy (HT) was more prevalent in the group with CAC = 0 (19.7 vs. 9.8%, p = .029). The prevalence ratios for CAC > 0 were 0.545 (95%CI:0.309-0.962, p = .036) for HT and 1.752 (95%CI:1.207-2.541, p = .003) for hypertension, after adjustment for age, educational level, smoking, alcohol intake, and physical activity. The present data in a population-based sample of midlife women indicate that hypertension and age were positively associated with higher risk for CAC > 0 and HT was related with CAC = 0.
Keywords: Menopause; cardiovascular risk; coronary artery calcification; hormone therapy; midlife women.