1224 out-patients who consecutively underwent a Biosound examination of carotid arteries were retrospectively analyzed in order to estimate prevalence of carotid lesions and the role played by age, sex and major vascular risk factors with respect to carotid atherosclerosis. They were subdivided in asymptomatic and symptomatic subjects, making a distinction in both subgroups between patients with (RF+) or without (RF-) major vascular risk factors. Carotid lesions were present in 41\% of asymptomatic RF- subjects; in 53\% of asymptomatic RF+ subjects; in 53\% of symptomatic RF- subjects and in 75\% of symptomatic RF+ subjects. Carotid disease increases along with age, being more frequent in men than in women. The logistic regression model has then shown that increasing age, male gender, cigarette smoking and hyperlipidaemia are predictors of carotid atherosclerosis, while hypertension has been proved to play significant role only in the age class 61-69 yr.
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