Seasonal variation in cardiovascular disease risk factors in a subarctic population : the Tromso Study 1979-2008

Hopstock, Laila Arnesdatter, Barnett, Adrian Gerard, Bønaa, Kaare Harald , Mannsverk, Jan, Njolstad, Inger, & Wilsgaard, Tom (2013) Seasonal variation in cardiovascular disease risk factors in a subarctic population : the Tromso Study 1979-2008. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 2013(67), pp. 113-118.

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Seasonal changes in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors may be due to exposure to seasonal environmental variables like temperature and acute infections or seasonal behavioural patterns in physical activity and diet. Investigating the seasonal pattern of risk factors should help determine the causes of the seasonal pattern in CVD. Few studies have investigated the seasonal variation in risk factors using repeated measurements from the same individual, which is important as individual and population seasonal patterns may differ.


The authors investigated the seasonal pattern in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, body weight, total cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, C reactive protein and fibrinogen. Measurements came from 38 037 participants in the population-based cohort, the Tromsø Study, examined up to eight times from 1979 to 2008. Individual and population seasonal patterns were estimated using a cosinor in a mixed model.


All risk factors had a highly statistically significant seasonal pattern with a peak time in winter, except for triglycerides (peak in autumn), C reactive protein and fibrinogen (peak in spring). The sizes of the seasonal variations were clinically modest.


Although the authors found highly statistically significant individual seasonal patterns for all risk factors, the sizes of the changes were modest, probably because this subarctic population is well adapted to a harsh climate. Better protection against seasonal risk factors like cold weather could help reduce the winter excess in CVD observed in milder climates.

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ID Code: 53381
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: season, cold, cardiovascular disease, Norway
DOI: 10.1136/jech-2012-201547
ISSN: 0143-005X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Epidemiology (111706)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 B M J Group
Deposited On: 29 Aug 2012 22:51
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2013 13:50

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