University of Oulu

Tapio, J., Vähänikkilä, H., Kesäniemi, Y.A. et al. Higher hemoglobin levels are an independent risk factor for adverse metabolism and higher mortality in a 20-year follow-up. Sci Rep 11, 19936 (2021).

Higher hemoglobin levels are an independent risk factor for adverse metabolism and higher mortality in a 20-year follow-up

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Author: Tapio, Joona1; Vähänikkilä, Hannu2; Kesäniemi, Y. Antero3;
Organizations: 1Biocenter Oulu and Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Oulu Center for Cell-Matrix Research, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5400, 90014, Oulu, Finland
2Northern Finland Birth Cohorts, Arctic Biobank, Infrastructure for Population Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, 90014, Oulu, Finland
3Medical Research Center Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Oulu University Hospital and Research Unit of Internal Medicine, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-11-18


The aim of this study was to cross-sectionally and longitudinally examine whether higher hemoglobin (Hb) levels within the normal variation associate with key components of metabolic syndrome and total and cardiovascular mortality. The study included 967 Finnish subjects (age 40–59 years) followed for ≥ 20 years. The focus was on Hb levels, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and mortality rates. Higher Hb levels associated positively with key anthropometric and metabolic parameters at baseline. At the follow-up similar associations were seen in men. The highest Hb quartile showed higher leptin levels and lower adiponectin levels at baseline and follow-up (p < 0.05) and lower plasma ghrelin levels at baseline (p < 0.05). Higher baseline Hb levels associated independently with prevalence of type 2 diabetes at follow-up (p < 0.01). The highest Hb quartile associated with higher serum alanine aminotransferase levels (p < 0.001) and independently with increased risk for liver fat accumulation (OR 1.63 [1.03; 2.57]) at baseline. The highest Hb quartile showed increased risk for total (HR = 1.48 [1.01; 2.16]) and CVD-related mortality (HR = 2.08 [1.01; 4.29]). Higher Hb levels associated with an adverse metabolic profile, increased prevalence of key components of metabolic syndrome and higher risk for CVD-related and total mortality.

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Series: Scientific reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
ISSN-E: 2045-2322
ISSN-L: 2045-2322
Volume: 11
Issue: 1
Article number: 19936
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-99217-9
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
3111 Biomedicine
Funding: This study was supported by the Academy of Finland Grant 308009, the S. Jusélius Foundation and the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation to P.K. and by the Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research to O.U.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 308009
Detailed Information: 308009 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
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