Atherogenic index of plasma: a significant indicator for the onset of atherosclerosis during menopause in hypertensive females of South East Nigeria

  • Uchenna I Nwagha Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Nigeria
  • John Igwe Department of Physiology; College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Nigeria


Background: Hypertension and menopause are independent risk factors for dyslipidaemia. In normotensive subjects, menopause causes significant alteration in lipid levels that may require medical intervention. It is thus expected that this alteration will become more relevant in hypertensive menopausal subjects. In our environment, diverse dietary, socioeconomic, and geographical variables might alter the expected pattern of deraignment.

Aims and Objectives: This study aims to compare the total lipid profile and its subfractions in hypertensive premenopausal and hypertensive postmenopausal subjects.

Materials and Methods: This is a comparative, cross sectional cohort study involving 116 hypertensive females (67 premenopausal and 49 postmenopausal), consecutively recruited over a two-year period. Serum total cholesterol and its sub fractions, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL), very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), and triglyceride, (TG) were estimated using standardized enzymatic and mathematical methods. Significant differences were analysed with student T–test using SPSS version 11 computer software.

Results: There were no statistically significant differences in total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, VLDL and HDL/LDL ratio between the two groups (P>0.05). However there were statistically significant differences in triglycerides (P<0.01) and the atherogenic index of plasma (P<0.001).

Conclusion: Simultaneous occurrence of menopause and hypertension leads to alteration in lipid profile that favours the use of triglyceride based indices (instead of HDL/LDL ratio) in determining the risk of developing atherosclerosis.

Keywords: hypertension, menopause, atherogenic index

Journal of College of Medicine Vol. 10(2) 2005: 67-71

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eISSN: 1118-2601