Prevalence and correlates of lower extremity arterial disease in elderly women.

Vogt, et al. Am J Epidemiol. 1993 Mar 1;137:559–68.



Although lower extremity arterial disease occurs in 15-20% of the population over the age of 75 years, little is known about the etiology of the disease in women. In this cross-sectional study involving 1,601 healthy elderly women (mean age, 71 years; range, 65-93 years), the occurrence of lower extremity arterial disease was assessed noninvasively by measuring brachial and ankle pressures bilaterally. Disease prevalence ranged from 2.9% in those aged 65-69 years to 15.5% in those aged 80 years or older. Approximately 20% of those with disease had symptoms of claudication. Age, systolic blood pressure, and current smoking status were strong independent risk factors for arterial disease; a history of arthritis, use of nonthiazide diuretics, current coffee drinking, and upper body obesity were also independent correlates. The number of pack-years in current and former smokers and the number of cigarettes per day used by current smokers showed a dose-response relation with disease. The population attributable risk for current smoking was 26%. The major correlates for symptomatic arterial disease were current smoking and systolic blood pressure. It is concluded that the major risk factors for lower extremity arterial disease in elderly women are similar to those in men. Preventive efforts should focus on smoking cessation and management of hypertension.