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Relationship between Blood Mercury Level and Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases: Results from the Fourth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES IV) 2008-2009

  • Kim, Young-Nam (Department of Food and Nutrition, Duksung Women's University) ;
  • Kim, Young A (Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Biotechnology and Natural Resource, Chung-Ang University) ;
  • Yang, Ae-Ri (Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Biotechnology and Natural Resource, Chung-Ang University) ;
  • Lee, Bog-Hieu (Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Biotechnology and Natural Resource, Chung-Ang University)
  • Received : 2014.08.04
  • Accepted : 2014.10.12
  • Published : 2014.12.31

Abstract

Limited epidemiologic data is available regarding the cardiovascular effects of mercury exposure. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between mercury exposure from fish consumption and cardiovascular disease in a nationally representative sample of Korean adults using the Fourth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES IV 2008~2009). Survey logistic regression models accounting for the complex sampling were used to estimate the odds ratios (OR) adjusted for fish consumption frequency, age, education, individual annual income, household annual income, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), alcohol consumption status, and smoking status. The mean blood mercury level in the population was $5.44{\mu}g/L$. Trends toward increased blood mercury levels were seen for increased education level (P=0.0011), BMI (P<0.0001), WC (P<0.0001), and fish (i.e., anchovy) consumption frequency (P=0.0007). The unadjusted OR for hypertension in the highest blood mercury quartile was 1.450 [95% confidential interval (CI): 1.106~1.901] times higher than that of the lowest quartile. The fish consumption-adjusted OR for hypertension in the highest blood mercury quartile was 1.550 (95% CI: 1.131~2.123) times higher than that of the lowest quartile, and the OR for myocardial infarction or angina in the highest blood mercury quartile was 3.334 (95% CI: 1.338~8.308) times higher than that of the lowest quartile. No associations were observed between blood mercury levels and stroke. These findings suggest that mercury in the blood may be associated with an increased risk of hypertension and myocardial infarction or angina in the general Korean population.

Acknowledgement

Supported by : Chung-Ang University

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