Dietary Fat Intake and Endothelial Dysfunction among Hypertensive Women
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. College of Nursing Honors Theses; 2018
High fat diets lead to low-grade systemic inflammation, a known cause of endothelial dysfunction and hypertension. Current research suggests that dietary modifications, including increasing unsaturated and lowering saturated fat intake, effectively treat hypertension. Adherence to recommendations to promote heart health can be low and influenced by factors such as age. This study was designed to examine associations among dietary intake of heart-healthy (i.e., monounsaturated, polyunsaturated) and heart-unhealthy (i.e., saturated) fats and endothelial function in hypertensive women as well as the predictive value of age for dietary fat intake. This secondary analysis utilized data obtained from a pilot study designed to examine indicators of vascular function in chronic hypertension. A convenience sample of 11 women aged 30-60 years was enrolled. The Diet History Questionnaire II (DHQII) was used to measure typical fat intake over a 30-day period. Endothelial function was measured using an Endo-PAT (Itamar Medical; Israel) and based on reactive hyperemic index (RHI), with greater RHI reflective of better vascular function. Spearman rank-order correlations examined relationships among age, dietary fat intake, and endothelial function (α = 0.05). Mean dietary intake of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats was 23.2 grams ± 12.2, 13.4 grams ± 9.0, and 18.7 grams ± 8.3, respectively. Monounsaturated (rs = 0.50, p = 0.12), polyunsaturated (rs = 0.49, p = 0.13), and saturated fat intake (rs = 0.49, p = 0.13) showed a trend toward improved vascular function, though no statistically significant association was identified. Greater age was associated with significantly less polyunsaturated (rs = -0.60, p = 0.05) and monounsaturated (rs = -0.66, p = 0.03) fat intake and marginally less saturated fat intake (rs = -0.48, p = 0.14) intake. This study advances understanding of the influence of dietary fat consumption on endothelial function, highlighting dietary modifications as a potential early intervention to improve cardiovascular health. Dietary fat intake was not significantly associated with endothelial function, likely as a function of small sample size. The identified trends support the need for future studies examining the relationship between dietary fat intake and endothelial function, and the role of unmodifiable factors that may affect dietary patterns, such as age.
Academic Major: Nursing
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