Hyperglycemia and diabetes mellitus associate with arterial stiffness. This observational study aimed to investigate such links in two related generations from a population-based study.
Data from 2640 participants in the ongoing Malmö Offspring Study, Sweden, was used. The participants were direct descendants, that is, parents (median age 52.5 years) and children (26.9 years). In linear regressions, arterial stiffness measured through carotid--femoral pulse wave velocity was associated with markers of glucose metabolism (fasting glucose, glycated hemoglobin, skin autoflourescence of Advanced Glycation End products), adjusted for age, sex, smoking, BMI, lipids, SBP and antihypertensive medication. Analysis was first performed in all participants and then separately in each generation. T-tests with diabetes mellitus as the grouping variable were performed for all participants and per generation.
In all participants, pulse wave velocity was significantly associated with glucose (β = 0.007, P = 0.018) and hemoglobin (β = 0.017, P < 0.001), but not with autoflourescence. Stratified by generation, arterial stiffness was associated with glucose (β = 0.013, P = 0.008) and glycated hemoglobin (β = 0.022, P < 0.001) only in parents. Mean pulse speed differed between participants with and without diabetes in the total group (mean difference 1.7 m/s, P < 0.001), as well as within each generation (parents: 1.3 m/s; P < 0.001, and children: 0.7 m/s; P = 0.040).
Impaired glucose metabolism and arterial stiffness were significantly associated only in the parental generation, indicating the influence of hyperglycemia on vascular aging. However, carotid--femoral pulse wave velocity differed significantly between participants with or without diabetes mellitus in both generations, suggesting that diabetes might negatively affect arterial stiffness also at a younger age.