No Association between Body Fat and Arterial Stiffness in Non-obese Women


Martin, E., Augustine, J., Spartano, N., Lefferts, W., Heffernan, K. Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

Obesity is known to increase risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), which may be a result of the negative effects that high body fat has on arterial function. Obesity may increase pulsatile load and over time contribute to vascular damage and increased arterial stiffness. However, it is currently unknown whether body fat is associated with pulsatile load and arterial stiffness in otherwise healthy non-obese women. Purpose: To investigate the association between body fat, pulsatile load and arterial stiffness in healthy non-obese women. Methods: Forty-eight non-obese women (ages 22 ± 8 years, BMI 22± 2 kg/m2). were studied in this cross sectional study design. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) was obtained from carotid-femoral pulse sites as a measure of aortic stiffness. Pulsatile load was calculated as the product of heart rate and pulse pressure (systolic blood pressure- diastolic blood pressure). Body fat percentage was measured by air displacement plethysmography. Results: Body fat percentage was significantly associated with pulsatile load (r = 0.35, p < 0.05). Aortic stiffness was also significantly associated with pulsatile load (r = 0.27, p < 0.05). However, arterial stiffness was not associated with body fat (r = 0.12, p > 0.05). Conclusion: Body fat percentage is not directly associated with aortic stiffness in young non-obese women. However, body fat is associated with higher pulsatile load. This is important because pulsatile load is known to damage the arteries and over time could lead to increases in arterial stiffness.

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