Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Associations of Systolic Blood Pressure With Quality of Life and Depressive Mood in Older Adults With Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Results From the Observational DIAST-CHF Study

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ObjectiveAlthough diagnosed arterial hypertension and antihypertensive medication usually have an adverse impact on quality of life, recent studies suggest that actual blood pressure may be positively related to better well-being. However, data in older patients with cardiovascular risk factors are lacking, for whom such an association may be of particular relevance.MethodsIn 1300 adults aged 50 to 85 years with cardiovascular risk factors (51.5% men, mean age = 65.7 ± 8.2 years) participating in an observational study, we performed standardized measurements of blood pressure and assessed quality of life and depressive symptoms at baseline and 1-year follow-up using the Short Form-36 (SF-36) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).ResultsBivariate analysis demonstrated that systolic blood pressure was associated with higher SF-36 mental component summary scores (r = 0.100, p < .001) and reduced HADS depression (r = −0.082, p = .003). Multivariate regression models adjusting for age, sex, and disease severity confirmed that higher systolic blood pressure significantly predicted both better mental quality of life (β = 0.070, p = .012) and less depressive mood (β = −0.083, p = .003) at baseline, independently of antihypertensive medication and diagnosed hypertension. Moreover, the beneficial effects of baseline systolic blood pressure remained stable for both summary components of the SF-36 as well as HADS depression at 1-year follow-up. All results remained unchanged, when limiting the analyses to the 1072 patients with diagnosed hypertension.ConclusionsIn older adults with cardiovascular risk factors, higher systolic blood pressure readings are independently related to better quality of life and fewer depressive symptoms in both cross-sectional and longitudinal settings, although the magnitude of the effect sizes is typically small.

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