The influence of lifestyle modification on carotid artery intima-media thickness in a suburban Japanese population


      To evaluate the influence of lifestyle modification with and without lipid-lowering drug therapy on the carotid arterial wall, we did a 2 year prospective ultrasound study of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) in 1390 male and female residents of a suburban Japanese town. According to total cholesterol (TC) level at baseline, subjects were classified into a lifestyle modification alone group (TC≥220 mg/dl, n=437), a lifestyle modification with lipid-lowering drug group (TC≥220 mg/dl, n=159), and a control group (TC<220 mg/dl, n=794). After 2 years of follow-up, both sexes of both treatment groups showed significant reductions of TC, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and IMT, although TC continued over 220 mg/dl in some subjects in the lifestyle modification group. The reduction of TC and LDL-C was significantly higher in the lifestyle modification with lipid-lowering drug group than in the lifestyle modification alone group. Although the IMT reduction was not statistically different between the treatment groups of either sex, the reduction of IMT was greater in the lifestyle modification with lipid-lowering drug group than in the lifestyle modification alone group. Our results indicate that comprehensive lifestyle modification can reduce carotid IMT in the general population, with or without the use of lipid-lowering drugs and that cholesterol reduction is of benefit even when TC level remain above the recommended level.


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