Microalbuminuria is associated with both an increased prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and greater renal and cardiovascular morbidity. We questioned whether in the general population such associations can be found at lower levels of urinary albumin excretion than that of classically defined microalbuminuria. To that purpose urinary albumin concentration was measured in 40619 subjects aged 28 to 75 years. The subjects filled in a questionnaire on cardiovascular risk factors and events and were divided in deciles according to their urinary albumin concentration.
Smoking was associated with albuminuria in the fifth or higher decile of urinary albumin concentration, that is with an albumin concentration of 5.1 mg/l and higher. The lower cut-off point for a positive association with hypertension was 8.8 mg/l, and for diabetes 11.2 mg/l. Family history for cardiovascular disease and hyperlipidaemia were not associated with albuminuria.
We conclude that urinary albumin concentrations far below the microalbuminuric range are associated with increased prevalence of established cardiovascular risk factors. Family history for cardiovascular disease and hyperlipidaemia seems to behave differently. These data emphasize the need for more studies on the impact of albuminuria on the prediction of cardiovascular and renal disease in the general population.
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