All measurements were taken in the morning after a 12-hour fast. In addition to testing carotid thickness via ultrasound, investigators measured blood pressure, body size, cholesterol (both total and HDL) and glucose. They also collected information on physical activity, symptoms of depression, alcohol consumption and smoking history. These are the factors that typically cause heart disease.
Results showed that police work was associated with increased subclinical cardiovascular disease -- there was more plaque build-up in the carotid artery--compared to the general population that could not be explained by those conventional heart disease risk factors.
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Subclinical atherosclerosis means that the disease shows progression but does not qualify yet as overt heart disease.
"In this case we examined the thickness of the carotid artery as an indicator of increasing risk for atherosclerosis," noted Violanti. "The plaque buildup was greater in police than the citizen population.
"In future work, we will measure the carotid artery thickness again to see how much it has increased. At some point in time, the thickness may reach a stage of possible blockage, which will require medical intervention and treatment. We think that police officers will likely reach that stage quicker than the general population."
Source: University at BuffaloBack to HCB News