Background: Pathological albuminuria (PAU) (urinary albumin creatinine ratio [UACR] ≥30 mg/g) is an independent risk factor of cardiovascular disease. PAU is more prevalent in men than women. We aimed to compare the association of PAU and the early phase of subclinical atherosclerosis (SA) between sexes.

Methods: 1228 subjects aged 50–90 years were stratified by sex and UACR (normal or PAU). SA was defined as mean carotid intima-media thickness ≥75th percentile of the cohort. Demographics and SA prevalence were compared between groups. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to assess the relationship between PAU and SA.

Results: Both men and women with PAU had increased prevalence of hypertension, anti-hypertensive therapy, and metabolic syndrome than controls. Men with PAU were older and had greater waist circumference and total body fat percentage. Sex disparity was observed in associations between waist-to-height ratio, total body fat, and UACR. After adjusting for traditional risk factors, multivariate logistic regression disclosed that PAU was independently associated with SA in men (adjusted odds ratio 1.867, 95% CI 1.066–3.210) but not in women.

Conclusion: The relationship of PAU and SA differed between sexes. This result may highlight the need for sex-specific risk management strategies to prevent atherosclerosis.