Hyperinsulinemia, sex, and risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

Michaela Modan*, Jacob Or, Avraham Karasik, Yaacov Drory, Zahava Fuchs, Ayala Lusky, Angela Chetrit, Hillel Halkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Background. The possibility that hyperinsulinemia may be involved in the etiology of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) was first suggested 20 years ago. During the last decade, this possibility has received support from three large prospective studies. Methods and Results. In the present study, the association between CVD, glucose intolerance, obesity, and hypertension (the GOH conditions) and hyperinsulinemia was examined cross-sectionally in a representative sample («=1,263) of the adult Jewish population aged 40-70 years in Israel. Previously known diabetics were excluded. CVD comprising clinical or ECG evidence of ischemic heart disease, as well as clinical evidence of cerebrovascular or peripheral vascular disease, was identified in 97 men and 39 women. A significant (p<0.01) hyperinsulinemia-sex interaction was found for CVD rate, with the adjusted risk ratios (followed by 95% confidence limits), relative to the rate in 298 normoinsulinemic women, being 1.15 (0.68-1.95) in 328 normoinsulinemic men, 0.85 (0.48-1.49) in 277 hyperinsulinemic women, and 2.27 (1.33-3.08) in 360 hyperinsulinemic men. Age-adjusted CVD rates in men versus women were: a) similar and low among all normoinsulinemic normotensives and hyperinsulinemics free of any of the GOH conditions (all rates ≤6.5%); b) similar and high among normoinsulinemic hypertensives (13.4% versus 10.4%); c) significantly higher in men among hyperinsulinemic normotensives with glucose intolerance and/or obesity (15.2% versus 3.3%; p=0.02) and all hyperinsulinemic hypertensives (21.5% versus 12.8%; p=0.04). These trends remained significant after adjusting for age, ethnic group, and blood lipids. Conclusions. Therefore, hyperinsulinemia was associated with excess CVD risk in men but not in women, and all excess CVD risk in men was confined to hyperinsulinemic individuals in the presence of glucose intolerance, obesity, or hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1165-1175
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Glucose intolerance
  • Hypertension
  • Lipoproteins
  • Obesity


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