Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and cardiovascular disease

Results from a population study of women in Göteborg, Sweden
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      In a prospective study of a population sample of women, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) was studied in relation to the incidence of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, stroke and intermittent claudication. ESR could not be proved to be predictive of these manifestations of cardiovascular disease. Similar results were obtained when the population was studied cross-sectionally. The ESR was higher in women with hyperlipidaemia (serum triglyceride ⩾ 2.0 mmol/1 or serum cholesterol ⩾ 9 mmol/1), in women with arterial hypertension (treated or untreated, with systolic blood pressure ⩾ 160 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure > 95 mm Hg or both) and in overweight women (women within the upper 10 centiles of weight index) compared to women of the same age in the population sample who did not fulfill the criteria according to the above definitions. ESR was similar in hyperuricaemic women (upper 5 centiles of serum uric acid) and in those who were not hyperuricaemic. No association was found between smoking habits and ESR. Weak correlations were found between ESR and serum triglycerides, serum cholesterol and serum uric acid, respectively. Although some correlations were found, ESR cannot replace other examinations in the search for risk factors for cardiovascular disease.


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