Topical Area: Nutritional Epidemiology
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world, and hypertension is the key modifiable risk factor. Risk factors for hypertension include high salt intake, obesity, stress, and environmental factors. Among environmental exposures, some studies suggest the possibility that arsenic plays a role in hypertension, but more evidence is needed to properly evaluate the association between arsenic exposure and hypertension.
Methods : We used a sub-cohort data from a longitudinal study, the China Health and Nutrition Survey. We followed up 2,530 non-hypertensive participants aged 20 – 65 years old who had blood pressure data and toenail samples measured in 2009 through 2015. We measured blood pressure with sphygmomanometer and standard cuff and arsenic concentration in toenail samples by using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). We used logistic regression models to estimate the association between arsenic quartiles and incident hypertension.
The average arsenic concentration was 0.48 (±0.60) mg/kg and the median was 0.33 mg/kg. The incidence of hypertension was 24.4% during the six follow-up years, varying from 26.2% in the first (lowest) quartile to 21.6% in the fourth (highest) quartile. Compared to the first quartile, the relative risk (RR) was 0.98 (95% CI: 0.74 – 1.29), 0.97 (95% CI: 0.73 – 1.29), and 0.74 (95% CI: 0.55 – 0.99) from the second to the fourth quartile, respectively, controlled for age, gender, body mass index, and some other cofounders.
Conclusions : Low to moderate arsenic exposure might decrease the risk of hypertension. More research is needed to fully determine the effects of arsenic exposure on hypertension.
Funding Sources : The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
(NICHD), NIH; The Fogarty International Center, NIH; Department of Nutrition & Carolina Population Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Department of Nutrition, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Beijing Municipal Center for Disease Prevention and Control
Department of Nutrition & Carolina Population Center,The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill