In the present review, associations between traditional vascular risk factors (VRFs) and carotid intima-medial thickness progression (C-IMTp) as well as the effects of therapies for VRFs control on C-IMTp were appraised to infer causality between each VRF and C-IMTp. Cohort studies indicate that smoking, binge drinking, fatness, diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia are associated with accelerated C-IMTp. An exception is physical activity, with mixed data. Interventions for the control of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia decelerate C-IMTp. Conversely, scarce information is available regarding the effect of smoking cessation, stop of excessive alcohol intake and management of the metabolic syndrome. Altogether, these data support a causative role of several traditional VRFs on C-IMTp. Shortcomings in study design and/or ultrasonographic protocols may account for most negative studies, which underlines the importance of a careful consideration of methodological aspects in investigations using C-IMTp as the outcome.
Frigerio B, Werba JP, Amato M, Ravani A, Sansaro D, Coggi D, Vigo L, Tremoli E, Baldassarre D. Traditional Risk Factors are Causally Related to Carotid Intima-Media Thickness Progression: Inferences from Observational Cohort Studies and Interventional Trials. Curr Pharm Des 2019 Dec 13. doi: 10.2174/1381612825666191213120339.