Obesity and overweight associated with increased carotid diameter and decreased arterial function in young otherwise healthy men

Rebecca M. Kappus, Christopher A. Fahs, Denise Smith, Gavin P. Horn, Stomatis Agiovlasitis, Lindy Rossow, Sae Y. Jae, Kevin S. Heffernan, Bo Fernhall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Obesity is linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke, increased mortality and vascular remodeling. Although increased arterial diameter is associated with multiple cardiovascular risk factors and obesity, it is unknown whether lumen enlargement is accompanied by unfavorable vascular changes in young and otherwise healthy obese individuals. The purpose of this study was to compare carotid and brachial artery diameter, blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and endothelial function in young, apparently healthy, normal-weight, overweight, and obese male subjects. METHODS: One hundred sixty-five male subjects (27.39±0.59 years) were divided into 3 groups (normal weight, overweight, and obese) according to body mass index. Subjects underwent cardiovascular measurements to determine arterial diameter, function, and stiffness. RESULTS: After adjusting for age, the obese group had significantly greater brachial, carotid, and aortic pressures, brachial pulse wave velocity, carotid intima media thickness, and carotid arterial diameter compared with both the overweight and normal-weight groups. CONCLUSIONS: Obesity is associated with a much worse arterial profile, as an increased carotid lumen size was accompanied by higher blood pressure, greater arterial stiffness, and greater carotid intima media thickness in obese compared with overweight or normal-weight individuals. These data suggest that although obesity may be a factor in arterial remodeling, such remodeling is also accompanied by other hemodynamic and arterial changes consistent with reduced arterial function and increased cardiovascular risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-634
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Arterial diameter
  • Arterial remodeling
  • Arterial stiffness
  • Blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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