We conducted a study to determine the joint association of physical activity, pharmacologic treatment for hypertension, and the control of blood pressure (BP) on all-cause mortality risk.METHODS
The study subjects were 10,665 adults from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) and the Continuous NHANES survey (1999–2000 and 2000–2001). Cox proportional hazards analyses were used to estimate differences in mortality risk according to physical activity, pharmacologic treatment for hypertension, and BP control, with physically active, treated, and controlled as the referent category.RESULTS
The average follow-up time in the study was 8.6±4.8 years. The main effect of physical activity was significant independently of pharmacologic treatment and BP control (P < 0.001). Physically inactive adults with hypertension had a higher risk of mortality than did physically active adults with treated and controlled hypertension (inactive, treated and controlled hypertension: HR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.17–1.72; P < 0.01; inactive, treated, and uncontrolled hypertension: HR, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.30–1.84; P < 0.01; inactive, untreated, and uncontrolled hypertension: HR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.07–1.52, P < 0.01). However, the risk of mortality for physically active adults with hypertension did not differ significantly with or without treatment for hypertension if their hypertension remained uncontrolled (active, treated and uncontrolled hypertension: HR, 1.17; 95% CI 0.98–1.40; P = 0.08; active, untreated and uncontrolled hypertension: HR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.76–1.08; P = 0.25). Physically active, normotensive individuals had a lower all-cause mortality risk than did the referent group of physically active individuals being treated with antihypertensive medication and who had controlled hypertension (HR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.60–0.86; P < 0.01), whereas physically inactive, normotensive individuals had a risk of mortality similar to that of the referent group (HR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.90–1.30; P = 0.42).CONCLUSION
Physical activity may be as or even more important than pharmacotherapy for reducing the risk of mortality in adults with hypertension. However, the risk of mortality remained higher for physically active adults with treated and controlled hypertension than did the risk of mortality for physically active normotensive populations. Prevention of hypertension is therefore imperative for reducing the all-cause risk of premature mortality in adults.