Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke in middle age, the results of a new study suggest.
The risk seems to be greatest among people with high blood pressure.
Various studies have linked lower vitamin D levels with heart disease and stroke, Dr Thomas J. Wang and colleagues note in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Until now, however, there have been no studies looking at the association over time, which can be useful in determining if low vitamin D levels might actually cause these problems.
How the study was done
They explored this relationship among 1 739 members of the Framingham Offspring Study who were free of heart disease and stroke when vitamin D levels were measured between 1996 and 2001. Twenty-eight percent of subjects were found to have low vitamin D levels.
During a follow-up period of about five years, 120 subjects had a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problem.
The rate of cardiovascular events was roughly doubled in patients with vitamin D deficiency, the report indicates.
Further analysis showed that the association was only significant, from a statistical standpoint, in subjects with high blood pressure.
What the researchers discovered
After accounting for age, gender, and other factors, a low vitamin D level more than doubled the risk of a cardiovascular event in these subjects.
While the current findings support the concept that low vitamin D levels can cause heart attacks and stokes, further studies are needed before vitamin D supplements can be recommended as a means of preventing these common cardiovascular problems. – (Reuters Health)
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