To study the association of plasma cortisol and coronary atherosclerosis, we selected 71 male outpatients who had coronary angiography as part of their evaluation at our facility. Forty-eight percent of the angiograms showed no evidence of coronary artery disease (CAD), 20% showed mild CAD, and 32% showed moderate to severe CAD. We found significant correlations between elevated serial morning plasma cortisols and moderate to severe coronary atherosclerosis. Using the odds ratio, we compared plasma cortisol to the major risk factors for coronary artery disease. Plasma cortisol was second only to serum cholesterol as a discriminator in our patient population between diseased and non-diseased patients. We found a significant correlation between plasma cortisol and cholesterol, blood pressure, and smoking - the three cardinal risk factors for CAD. The highest degree of correlation was found between cortisol and cholesterol. The possible significance of the association of cortisol and the major risk factors for CAD is discussed.
- Risk factors for coronary artery disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine