Larger calves may mean less risk of carotid plaques.
Author: Hunter, Kim
Pub Date: 12/22/2008
Publication: Name: Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism Publisher: National Herbalists Association of Australia Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 National Herbalists Association of Australia ISSN: 1033-8330
Issue: Date: Winter, 2008 Source Volume: 20 Source Issue: 4
Accession Number: 200247359
Full Text: Debette S et al. 2008. Calf circumference is inversely associated with carotid plaques. Stroke 39:11;2958-65.

Researchers aimed to test the cross sectional association of carotid plaques and common carotid artery intima-media thickness with calf circumference (CC), representing peripheral fat and lean mass, and with waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio, two markers of abdominal obesity.

To do this they studied 6265 residents of three French cities (Dijon, Montpellier, Bordeaux). None of these participants was institutionalised and all were aged between 65 and 84 years. Ultrasound examination and anthropometric measures were performed according to a standardised protocol. Increasing calf circumference was associated with fewer carotid plaques. Compared to those with the lowest calf circumference, the odds ratio in those with the highest was 0.71. The effect was independent of age, gender, body mass index and other vascular risk factors.

The team found an additional effect of waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Those with highest WHR and the lowest calf circumference had the highest frequency of carotid plaques (55.1%). In subjects with the lowest WHR and highest calf circumference, the frequency was 31.8%.

The present study shows for the first time an inverse relationship between carotid plaques and CC. Although this needs to be confirmed in other populations, it may suggest an antiatherogenic effect of large CC. The investigators acknowledge the need for validation, but suggest calf circumference may be a new anthropometric marker to take into account when assessing the risk of carotid atherosclerosis.

Kim Hunter

PO Box 45, Concord West NSW 2138

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