Association between blood levels of lead, blood pressure and risk of diabetes and heart disease in workers
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Background: Previous studies have supported the association between high levels of blood lead levels (BLL) and elevated blood pressure. In addition, significant correlations between BLL and a variety of risk factors for blood pressure and diabetes mellitus have been well-established. Objective: To examine the relationship between BLL, blood pressure and diabetes as well as other selected social and biochemical factors, among workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Methods: This comparative study included 110 industrial workers (exposed to lead in the workplace) and 110 non-industrial workers (not exposed); all were recruited in the city of Al-Ain, Abu-Dhabi Emirate, UAE and the groups were evenly matched for age, gender and nationality. Results: The industrial workers had a significantly higher mean of BLL (median 81 and geometric mean (GM) 62 μg/dl) than did non-industrial workers (median 11 and GM 13 μg/dl). In the present study, the lead-exposed group also had significantly higher blood lead levels, body-mass index (BMI), systolic and diastolic blood pressures, fasting blood glucose and plasma levels of total cholesterol, lactate dehydrogenase and uric acid than did the non-exposed group. Furthermore a significant correlation between BLL and systolic blood pressure was observed. Conclusion: The study supports the hypothesis of a positive association between lead exposure, high blood pressure and risk of diabetes and heart disease.
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