Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and structural changes in carotid arteries in normotensive workers occupationally exposed to lead
Occupational exposure to lead may cause an increase in blood pressure. In this study, the authors estimated the effect of occupational exposure to lead on selected parameters of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) and structural changes in carotid arteries. The study included 33 normotensive men occupationally exposed to lead and 39 unexposed men employed in administration of the foundry. All of the men underwent 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and high-resolution B-mode ultrasonography to determine intima-media thickness (IMT). the results demonstrated that the group of men occupationally exposed to lead manifested significantly higher mean systolic blood pressure (MSBP), mean diastolic blood pressure (MDBP), mean blood pressure (MBP), pulse pressure (PP), variability of diastolic blood pressure (VDBP), and IMT than the unexposed group. The studied groups did not differ in mean values of variability of systolic blood pressure (VSBP). As compared to the unexposed group, in men exposed to lead, atherosclerotic plaques were significantly more common. In the group of persons exposed to lead the Pearson’s correlation coefficient analysis revealed significant linear positive correlations between MSBP and IMT, between lead level and the number of atherosclerotic plaques, and between lead level and PP. Multivariate stepwise regression analysis demonstrated that higher lead level in blood and higher triglyceride concentration in blood represent independent risk factors of an increased pulse pressure in the group of individuals occupationally exposed to lead. the authors concluded that occupational exposure to lead can be associated with increased blood pressure and accelerated progression of atherosclerosis.