RATIONALE: Substantial variation in the prevalences of obstructive lung disease exist between Hispanic/Latino heritage groups. Experimental studies have posited biological mechanisms linking serum lipids and lipid-lowering medications with obstructive lung disease. The aim of this study is to examine the associations of serum lipid levels with the prevalences of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos and how these associations vary by Hispanic/Latino heritage group.
METHODS: The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos is a population-based probability sample of 16,415 self-identified Hispanic/Latino persons aged 18-74 years recruited between 2008 and 2011 from randomly selected households in four US field centers. The baseline clinical examination included comprehensive biological testing (fasting serum lipid levels), behavioral and socio-demographic assessments, medication inventory including inhalers, and respiratory data including questionnaires for asthma and standardized spirometry with post-bronchodilator measures for identification of obstructive lung disease.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Hispanic/Latinos with current asthma had lower age- and statin-use-adjusted mean serum total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride levels than their non-asthmatic counterparts. In analysis adjusted for age plus gender, ethnicity, cigarette smoking, alcohol intake, body mass index, lipid/cholesterol-lowering medications, age at immigration, health insurance status, and use of oral corticosteroids, increasing serum levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were associated with lower odds of current asthma in the estimated population. Unlike asthma, Hispanic/Latinos with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease had lower mean high-density lipoprotein than their non- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease counterparts. In the fully adjusted analysis no significant associations were found between lipid levels and prevalent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
CONCLUSIONS: We showed a modest inverse relationship between serum lipid levels and current asthma. These results highlight some important differences in Hispanics/Latinos and certain serum lipids may be factors or markers of obstructive lung disease.