Background: Since World War II (WWII), exposures to westernized lifestyle have occurred in many non-Western countries, including Japan. National surveys showed that risk factor profiles for atherosclerosis around 1990 were similar in men in the post WWII birth cohorts in the US and Japan. We compared the degree of coronary calcium and other factors in men in the post WWII birth cohort: men aged 40-49 in the US and Japan. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study examining randomly selected 100 men from Kusatsu, Japan, and 100 men from Allegheny County, US. Coronary calcium was assessed using electron-beam computed tomography. Results: Systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, and smoking rates were higher among the Japanese (122.6 ± 14.1 versus 113.7 ± 9.6 mmHg, P < 0.01; 5.72 ± 0.90 versus 4.99 ± 0.81 mmol/l (220.9 ± 34.6 versus 192.8 ± 31.3 mg/dl), P < 0.01; 3.52 ± 1.01 versus 3.10 ± 0.78 mmol/l (136.0 ± 39.0 versus 119.7 ± 30.0 mg/dl), P < 0.01; and 48 versus 15%, P < 0.01, respectively). Triglycerides and fibrinogen were similar. High density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol was higher among the Japanese. Body mass index, fasting insulin, and C-reactive protein were higher among the Americans. Prevalence of coronary artery calcium score >0 was strikingly lower among the Japanese than the Americans (13% versus 47%, P < 0.01). Conclusions: Much lower prevalence of coronary calcium despite a less favourable profile of many major independent risk factors in the Japanese might imply that there are strong protective factors against atherosclerosis in the Japanese. Further investigation is of critical importance.
- Coronary Calcium
- Electron-beam computed tomography
- Post World War II birth cohort
- Risk factors
- Subclinical atherosclerosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas