Age and Target Organ Damage in Essential Hypertension: Role of the Metabolic Syndrome

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We sought to investigate the association of the metabolic syndrome (MS) with cardiovascular alterations in essential hypertensives in relation to age.


A total of 3266 untreated and treated hypertensive patients categorized in three age groups (I: 17 to 40 years; II: 41 to 64 years; III: >64 years) were considered for this analysis. All patients underwent extensive investigations searching for target organ damage (TOD). The MS was defined according to Advanced Technology Laboratories (ATP) III criteria.


In the entire population, the risk of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), carotid abnormalities, and microalbuminuria increased by 2.5 (P = .003), 2.2 (P = .005), and 1.5 times (P = .01), respectively, in the presence of MS after adjusting for several confounders. Prevalence of LVH (group I: 39% v 22%; group II: 53% v 35%; group III: 69% v 52%, P < .01 for all), carotid thickening (group I: 8% v 2%; group II 29% v 19%; group III: 69% v 52%, P < .05 for all) and microalbuminuria (group I: 20% v 11%; group II: 16% v 8%; group III: 18% v 11%, P ≤ .05 for all) was significantly higher in patients with MS than in their counterparts across all age groups.


In hypertensive patients the MS amplifies TOD regardless of patient's age, thus increasing cardiovascular risk. This synergistic effect may accelerate the early development of TOD in young hypertensives and enhance the age-associated cardiovascular alterations in the elderly. Am J Hypertens 2007;20: 296-303 © 2007 American Journal of Hypertension, Ltd.

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