We tested the hypothesis that higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness are inversely associated with carotid artery intima media thickness in 746 (age 53 ± 7 yrs) men with type 2 diabetes.
We measured common carotid intima media thickness and defined carotid atherosclerosis as a carotid intima media thickness > 1.0 mm. Cardiorespiratory fitness was directly measured by peak oxygen uptake using expired gases analysis during a standard treadmill test.
Cardiorespiratory fitness was independently associated with common carotid intima media thickness in multivariable regression (β = –0.15, P < .05). After adjusting for established risk factors, high and moderate cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with lower odds ratios for having carotid atherosclerosis—0.49 (95% CI, 0.30–0.81), and 0.59 (95% CI, 0.38–0.92), respectively—as compared with low cardiorespiratory fitness. Each 1 metabolic equivalent increment higher cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with 27% (OR = 0.73; 95% CI, 0.61–0.87) lower prevalence of carotid atherosclerosis.
These results suggest that high cardiorespiratory fitness is inversely associated with common carotid intima media thickness in men with type 2 diabetes.