, Volume 117, Issue 11, pp 1247-1252
Date: 31 Aug 2010

Risk factors for cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases beyond age 75 years

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Globally, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of all mortalities. Of these deaths, 7.6 million are due to heart attacks, and 5.7 millions are due to stroke. The Vienna Transdanube Aging Study (VITA), a population-based cohort study, enabled us to evaluate associations between the known major risk factors for cerebrovascular and CVDs and their appearance beyond age 75 years. Using a single birth cohort, age was excluded as confounding factor. In the baseline investigations in the Danube Hospital, 606 individuals took part and were examined completely at baseline. After 60 months, 508 patients were re-examined. Each participant underwent an indepth investigation with the duration of 7 h, including neuropsychological testing, as well as analyses of biochemical, clinical chemical and genetic parameters, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. In the present study, only a history of cerebral and cardiovascular events at the baseline or smoking was associated significantly with the appearance of CVDs. In a multiple model both risk factors—history of cerebral and cardiovascular events at the baseline (p = 0.0003, OR 2.36, 95% CI 1.49–3.76) and smoking (p = 0.0005, OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.22–2.03)—remained significant. However, the predictive value of this assessment model was low. The rescaled r 2 of the model was 0.088. A significant correlation was found only between exposure to cigarette smoke or a history of previous CVDs, such as stroke or myocardial infarction. Smoking or earlier CVDs greatly increase the risk for further cerebral and cardiovascular events in persons after 75 years.