Objective: The objective of the study was to analyse the relations between
excretion of cortisol in urine and saliva and the intima media thickness (I
MT) of the artery carotis communis. Design and methods: In a cross-sectiona
l study, 121 healthy participants completed a comprehensive questionnaire.
Additionally, three samples of urine and four samples of saliva were collec
ted in the 24 h before the examination, which included an ultrasound examin
ation of the artery carotis communis, measuring height, weight, hip and wai
st width, blood pressure after 10 min of rest, and analysis of blood sample
s for cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, and HbA(1c).
The highest average of three measurements of IMT immediately before cartos
is bulbous from either left or right side was used in the analyses as the d
ependent variable IMT. Results: Values of cortisol in urine adjusted for cr
eatinine were not related to IMT, but the level of salivary cortisol I h af
ter awakening and the reactivity in salivary cortisol the first hour after
awakening were significantly associated with IMT in women i.e. high cortiso
l was associated with low IMT. This result remained significant in multiple
regression analysis including age, body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, HbA
(1c), and alcohol. Conclusion: The reactivity in salivary cortisol the firs
t hour in the morning might be used in research relating to stress, hormona
l changes and early atherosclerosis. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
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