Background An association has been described between elevated ferritin (the major iron storage protein) levels and type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. However there are limited data on the associations in populations with no evidence of clinical disease with adjustment for potential confounders. We investigated whether serum ferritin levels were associated with waist circumference (WC), blood pressure, cholesterol, and HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) in men with no cardiometabolic disease.
Methods The analysis was conducted using data for 2506 men of 16–74 years of age from Scottish Health Surveys performed in 1995 and 1998 after excluding individuals with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, infectious disease, blood disorders, high fibrinogen levels, high glutamyl transferase levels, very high ferritin levels (>800 µg/L), and missing data. Ferritin levels were categorised into quartiles and cut- points from the consensus definition of metabolic syndrome and the European Atherosclerosis Society were used to define risk factors: waist circumference ≥80 cm for women and ≥80 cm for men; systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥130 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) ≥85 mmHg; total cholesterol ≥5.18 mmol/L; HDL cholesterol ≤1.0 mmol/L. Logistic regression models were used to adjust for age, liver function, fibrinogen, smoking and alcohol consumption, body mass index, and year of survey. The complex survey design was taken into account in all analyses by using Stata’s “svy” command. Data were analysed using STATA 10 (StataCorp).
Results Median (inter-quartile ranges) were 35(26–45) years for age, and 86(56–129) µg/L for ferritin. The prevalence of risk factors was the following: high WC 30.1%, low HDL-C 12.9%, high cholesterol 53.9%, and high SBP and/or high DBP 42.6%. About 43% of the men had two or more risk factors. In un-adjusted models, the highest compared with the lowest quartile of ferritin was associated with high waist circumference [odds ratio (95% confidence interval) OR 3.29(249–4.35)], high diastolic blood pressure [OR 2.52(1.69–3.75)], high total cholesterol and having two or more cardiometabolic abnormalities [OR 2.96(2.27–3.87)]. However, there were no significant associations after adjustment.
Conclusion Ferritin levels were not independently associated with abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure, in men with no history of cardiometabolic diseases.
- cardiovascular risk
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