Impaired Glucose Tolerance, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factor Profiles in the Elderly: The Honolulu Heart Program

  1. Katsuhiko Yano, MD
  1. Division of Clinical Epidemiology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, The University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu, Hawaii
  2. The Honolulu Heart Program, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health Honolulu, Hawaii
  3. Department of Medicine, University of Washington Seattle, Washington
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Beatriz L. Rodriguez, MD, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator, The Honolulu Heart Program, 347 North Kuakini St., Honolulu, HI 96817. E-mail: beatriz{at}


OBJECTIVE The relationship between glucose tolerance status and other cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors was evaluated in a cohort of Japanese-American men (n = 3,741) ages 71–93 years who participated in the fourth examination of the Honolulu Heart Program in 1991–1993.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS In this cross-sectional study, subjects were classified by reported diabetes and glucose tolerance status using questionnaires and the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria, respectively.

RESULTS The prevalence of reported diabetes was 17%. Among the men who completed an oral glucose tolerance test and had no history of diabetes (n = 1,900), 23% were diagnosed as diabetic and 39% had impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) by WHO criteria. The CVD risk factor profiles of men with IGT and diabetes were significantly more adverse compared with men with normal glucose tolerance after adjustment for age. The rates of hypertension, mean levels of BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, triglycerides, and fasting insulin were higher in men with IGT and diabetes compared with normal subjects. Opposite trends were observed for HDL cholesterol. Two-hour insulin was significantly higher among men with IGT and previously undiagnosed diabetes. Men with known diabetes had a lower physical activity index and higher fibrinogen levels than normal subjects. No significant differences were observed for current smoking and alcohol intake. Differences in risk factor levels by glucose tolerance status remained after adjustment for age, physical activity, BMI, and waist-to-hip ratio.

CONCLUSIONS These findings show that among elderly men of Japanese ancestry, impaired glucose tolerance and undiagnosed and known diabetes are highly prevalent, and these conditions are associated with adverse CVD factor profiles.

  • Received October 18, 1995.
  • Revision received January 25, 1996.
  • Accepted January 25, 1996.
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