There is evidence that the subgroup of patients with essential hypertension who are also insulin resistant is at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We are unaware of the frequency of insulin resistance in patients with essential hypertension as well as the CVD risk in this subgroup of patients. This analysis was aimed at providing the prevalence of insulin resistance and associated CVD risk factors in treated and untreated patients with essential hypertension.METHODS:
The study population consisted of 126 patients with hypertension: 56 untreated and 70 in a stable treatment program. Body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, plasma glucose and insulin responses to an oral glucose challenge, lipid and lipoprotein concentrations, and steady-state plasma glucose (SSPG) concentration during the insulin suppression test were measured. Insulin resistance was defined operationally as a SSPG concentration >180 mg/dl.RESULTS:
Demographic characteristics and metabolic CVD risk factors were comparable in both groups, with 30-50% of both treated and untreated patients having abnormalities of all risk factors measured. Approximately 50% of patients met the criteria for insulin resistance in both groups, and the prevalence of abnormal CVD risk factors in this group was increased two to threefold as compared to the other half of the subjects.CONCLUSIONS:
Approximately 50% of patients with essential hypertension, both treated and untreated, appear to be insulin resistant, and CVD risk factors are greatly accentuated in this subset of patients.