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Lead, Cadmium, Smoking, and Increased Risk of Peripheral Arterial Disease *

Background— Lead and cadmium exposure may promote atherosclerosis, although the cardiovascular effects of chronic low-dose exposure are largely unknown. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the association between blood levels of lead and cadmium and peripheral arterial disease.

Methods and Results— We analyzed data from 2125 participants who were ≥40 years of age in the 1999 to 2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Peripheral arterial disease was defined as an ankle brachial index <0.9 in at least 1 leg. Lead and cadmium levels were measured by atomic absorption spectrometry. After adjustment for demographic and cardiovascular risk factors, the ORs of peripheral arterial disease comparing quartiles 2 to 4 of lead with the lowest quartile were 1.63 (95% CI, 0.51 to 5.15), 1.92 (95% CI, 0.62 to 9.47), and 2.88 (95% CI, 0.87 to 9.47), respectively (P for trend=0.02). The corresponding ORs for cadmium were 1.07 (95% CI, 0.44 to 2.60), 1.30 (95% CI, 0.69 to 2.44), and 2.82 (95% CI, 1.36 to 5.85), respectively (P for trend=0.01). The OR of peripheral arterial disease for current smokers compared with never smokers was 4.13. Adjustment for lead reduced this OR to 3.38, and adjustment for cadmium reduced it to 1.84.

Conclusions— Blood lead and cadmium, at levels well below current safety standards, were associated with an increased prevalence of peripheral arterial disease in the general US population. Cadmium may partially mediate the effect of smoking on peripheral arterial disease.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 04-13-2009
Authors: Ana Navas-Acien, MD, MPH; Elizabeth Selvin, MPH; A. Richey Sharrett, MD, DrPH; Emma Calderon-Aranda, PhD, MD; Ellen Silbergeld, PhD; Eliseo Guallar, MD, DrPH
Source: Circulation. 2004;109:3196-3201