It is unclear whether environmental cadmium exposure is associated with cardiovascular disease, although recent data suggest associations with myocardial infarction and peripheral arterial disease.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the association of measured cadmium exposure with stroke and heart failure (HF) in the general population.
We analyzed data from 12,049 participants, aged 30 years and older, in the 1999–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for whom information was available on body mass index, smoking status, alcohol consumption, and socio-demographic characteristics.
At their interviews, 492 persons reported a history of stroke, and 471 a history of HF. After adjusting for demographic and cardiovascular risk factors, a 50% increase in blood cadmium corresponded to a 35% increased odds of prevalent stroke [OR: 1.35; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.12–1.65] and a 50% increase in urinary cadmium corresponded to a 9% increase in prevalent stroke [OR: 1.09; 95% CI: 1.00–1.19]. This association was higher among women [OR: 1.38; 95% CI: 1.11–1.72] than men [OR: 1.30; 95% CI: 0.93–1.79] (p-value for interaction=0.05). A 50% increase in blood cadmium corresponded to a 48% increased odds of prevalent HF [OR: 1.48; 95% CI: 1.17–1.87] and a 50% increase in urinary cadmium corresponded to a 12% increase in prevalent HF [OR: 1.12; 95% CI: 1.03–1.20], with no difference in sex-specific associations.
Environmental exposure to cadmium was associated with significantly increased stroke and heart failure prevalence. Cadmium exposure may increase these important manifestations of cardiovascular disease.