Health-related quality of life and risk of hypertension in the community: prospective results from the Western New York health study

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Abstract

Objectives:

Measures of health-related quality of life (HRQL) are strong predictors of health outcomes including cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, prospective evidence on the potential impact of these measures on hypertension risk is scant. We therefore examined the independent role of HRQL on the risk of hypertension in a 6-year longitudinal investigation among 979 women and men (mean age 54.3 years) from the community, who were free of hypertension, CVD and diabetes at the baseline examination.

Methods:

Baseline variables included socio-demographics, anthropometrics, blood pressure, behavioural risk factors and measures of HRQL, such as the physical and mental health component summaries of the short form-36 questionnaire (SF-36). Incident hypertension was defined as blood pressure at least 140/90 mmHg or on antihypertensive medication at the follow-up visit.

Results:

The cumulative 6-year incidence of hypertension was 21.9% (214/979). In bivariate analyses, there were several baseline correlates of incident hypertension, including age, abdominal height, BMI and baseline blood pressure levels in both sexes, whereas impaired fasting glucose, family history of hypertension and the SF-36 physical score were all significantly associated with hypertension among women only. After multivariate adjustment, the SF-36 physical scores [odds ratio (OR) 0.97, 0.94–0.99 for unit change] were still significant predictors of hypertension in women only, independent of age, anthropometrics, baseline SBP levels, behavioural risk factors and other covariates.

Conclusion:

Measures of HRQL may represent independent predictors of hypertension risk, at least among women, above and beyond the role of traditional risk factors, such as age, anthropometrics and genetic predisposition.

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