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1.  Effects of angiotensin II-receptor blockers on soluble cell adhesion molecule levels in uncomplicated systemic hypertension: An observational, controlled pilot study in Taiwanese adults* 
Controversy exists as to whether individuals with hypertension without risk factors for atherosclerosis (eg, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia,
The aim of this study was to determine whether (1) levels of solubleCAMs (sCAMs) (soluble E-selectin [sE-selectin], soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 [sICAM-1 ], soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 [sVCAM-1 ], and von Willebrand factor [vWF]) are elevated in Taiwanese adults with uncomplicated essential hypertension without other risk factors; (2) CAM levels increase with severity (stage) of hypertension; and (3) monotherapy with the angiotensin II-receptor blocker (ARB) irbesartan modulates CAM expression in a subgroup of these patients.
This observational, controlled pilot study was conducted at the Hypertension Clinic, Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Adult patients with uncomplicated essential hypertension without other risk factors (eg, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, obesity) and normotensive controls were eligible. Blood pressure (BP) was determined using 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) in all participants, and the staging of hypertension was classified based on criteria in The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (normotensive, prehypertension, stage I hypertension, and stage II hypertension). The SCAM levels and 24-hour ABPM were measured before and after 8 weeks of open-label irbesartan monotherapy in a subgroup of the patients with hypertension. Patients who had difficulty achieving the target BP values on irbesartan monotherapy were treated with combination therapy (2 or 3 antihypertensive agents); levels of sCAMs were not measured in these patients. Plasma levels of sE-selectin, the sCAMs, and vWF were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
The study comprised 61 patients with uncomplicated essentialhypertension (33 men and 28 women; mean [SD] age, 51 [12] years) and 17 normotensive controls (11 men, 6 women; mean [SD] age, 52 [ 11 ] years). The mean (SD) dose of irbesartan was 243 (63) mg. Hypertensive patients had significantly higher circulating levels of sICAM-1 compared with normotensive controls (P = 0.009). No significant differences in levels of sVCAM-1, sE-selectin, or vWF were found between hypertensive patients and controls. The mean sICAM-1 level was significantly higher in the prehypertensive patients compared with normotensive controls (P = 0.03). The mean sE-selectin level was significantly higher in the patients with stage I hypertension compared with the prehypertensive group (P = 0.01). The 18 patients given 8 weeks of irbesartan monotherapy showed a significant decrease from baseline in systolic and diastolic BP (both, P = 0.001) and sE-selectin (P= 0.006), but not in sVCAM-1 or sICAM. Forty-three patients did not reach target BP on irbesartan monotherapy and thus were treated with combination therapy.
Based on the results of this observational, controlled pilotstudy in Taiwanese patients, we suggest that ARB therapy, in addition to reducing BP, has the potential to suppress CAM expression and to improve endothelial dysfunction in hypertension.
PMCID: PMC3964542  PMID: 24672122
soluble cell adhesion molecule; ambulatory blood pressuremonitoring; systemic hypertension; angiotensin 11-receptor blockers
2.  Risk Stratification by Self-Measured Home Blood Pressure across Categories of Conventional Blood Pressure: A Participant-Level Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(1):e1001591.
Jan Staessen and colleagues compare the risk of cardiovascular, cardiac, or cerebrovascular events in patients with elevated office blood pressure vs. self-measured home blood pressure.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
The Global Burden of Diseases Study 2010 reported that hypertension is worldwide the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, causing 9.4 million deaths annually. We examined to what extent self-measurement of home blood pressure (HBP) refines risk stratification across increasing categories of conventional blood pressure (CBP).
Methods and Findings
This meta-analysis included 5,008 individuals randomly recruited from five populations (56.6% women; mean age, 57.1 y). All were not treated with antihypertensive drugs. In multivariable analyses, hazard ratios (HRs) associated with 10-mm Hg increases in systolic HBP were computed across CBP categories, using the following systolic/diastolic CBP thresholds (in mm Hg): optimal, <120/<80; normal, 120–129/80–84; high-normal, 130–139/85–89; mild hypertension, 140–159/90–99; and severe hypertension, ≥160/≥100.
Over 8.3 y, 522 participants died, and 414, 225, and 194 had cardiovascular, cardiac, and cerebrovascular events, respectively. In participants with optimal or normal CBP, HRs for a composite cardiovascular end point associated with a 10-mm Hg higher systolic HBP were 1.28 (1.01–1.62) and 1.22 (1.00–1.49), respectively. At high-normal CBP and in mild hypertension, the HRs were 1.24 (1.03–1.49) and 1.20 (1.06–1.37), respectively, for all cardiovascular events and 1.33 (1.07–1.65) and 1.30 (1.09–1.56), respectively, for stroke. In severe hypertension, the HRs were not significant (p≥0.20). Among people with optimal, normal, and high-normal CBP, 67 (5.0%), 187 (18.4%), and 315 (30.3%), respectively, had masked hypertension (HBP≥130 mm Hg systolic or ≥85 mm Hg diastolic). Compared to true optimal CBP, masked hypertension was associated with a 2.3-fold (1.5–3.5) higher cardiovascular risk. A limitation was few data from low- and middle-income countries.
HBP substantially refines risk stratification at CBP levels assumed to carry no or only mildly increased risk, in particular in the presence of masked hypertension. Randomized trials could help determine the best use of CBP vs. HBP in guiding BP management. Our study identified a novel indication for HBP, which, in view of its low cost and the increased availability of electronic communication, might be globally applicable, even in remote areas or in low-resource settings.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Globally, hypertension (high blood pressure) is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is responsible for 9.4 million deaths annually from heart attacks, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. Hypertension, which rarely has any symptoms, is diagnosed by measuring blood pressure, the force that blood circulating in the body exerts on the inside of large blood vessels. Blood pressure is highest when the heart is pumping out blood (systolic blood pressure) and lowest when the heart is refilling (diastolic blood pressure). European guidelines define optimal blood pressure as a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and a diastolic blood pressure of less than 80 mm Hg (a blood pressure of less than 120/80 mm Hg). Normal blood pressure, high-normal blood pressure, and mild hypertension are defined as blood pressures in the ranges 120–129/80–84 mm Hg, 130–139/85–89 mm Hg, and 140–159/90–99 mm Hg, respectively. A blood pressure of more than 160 mm Hg systolic or 100 mm Hg diastolic indicates severe hypertension. Many factors affect blood pressure; overweight people and individuals who eat salty or fatty food are at high risk of developing hypertension. Lifestyle changes and/or antihypertensive drugs can be used to control hypertension.
Why Was This Study Done?
The current guidelines for the diagnosis and management of hypertension recommend risk stratification based on conventionally measured blood pressure (CBP, the average of two consecutive measurements made at a clinic). However, self-measured home blood pressure (HBP) more accurately predicts outcomes because multiple HBP readings are taken and because HBP measurement avoids the “white-coat effect”—some individuals have a raised blood pressure in a clinical setting but not at home. Could risk stratification across increasing categories of CBP be refined through the use of self-measured HBP, particularly at CBP levels assumed to be associated with no or only mildly increased risk? Here, the researchers undertake a participant-level meta-analysis (a study that uses statistical approaches to pool results from individual participants in several independent studies) to answer this question.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers included 5,008 individuals recruited from five populations and enrolled in the International Database of Home Blood Pressure in Relation to Cardiovascular Outcome (IDHOCO) in their meta-analysis. CBP readings were available for all the participants, who measured their HBP using an oscillometric device (an electronic device for measuring blood pressure). The researchers used information on fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular, cardiac, and cerebrovascular (stroke) events to calculate the hazard ratios (HRs, indicators of increased risk) associated with a 10-mm Hg increase in systolic HBP across standard CBP categories. In participants with optimal CBP, an increase in systolic HBP of 10-mm Hg increased the risk of any cardiovascular event by nearly 30% (an HR of 1.28). Similar HRs were associated with a 10-mm Hg increase in systolic HBP for all cardiovascular events among people with normal and high-normal CBP and with mild hypertension, but for people with severe hypertension, systolic HBP did not significantly add to the prediction of any end point. Among people with optimal, normal, and high-normal CBP, 5%, 18.4%, and 30.4%, respectively, had a HBP of 130/85 or higher (“masked hypertension,” a higher blood pressure in daily life than in a clinical setting). Finally, compared to individuals with optimal CBP without masked hypertension, individuals with masked hypertension had more than double the risk of cardiovascular disease.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that HBP measurements, particularly in individuals with masked hypertension, refine risk stratification at CBP levels assumed to be associated with no or mildly elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. That is, HBP measurements can improve the prediction of cardiovascular complications or death among individuals with optimal, normal, and high-normal CBP but not among individuals with severe hypertension. Clinical trials are needed to test whether the identification and treatment of masked hypertension leads to a reduction of cardiovascular complications and is cost-effective compared to the current standard of care, which does not include HBP measurements and does not treat people with normal or high-normal CBP. Until then, these findings provide support for including HBP monitoring in primary prevention strategies for cardiovascular disease among individuals at risk for masked hypertension (for example, people with diabetes), and for carrying out HBP monitoring in people with a normal CBP but unexplained signs of hypertensive target organ damage.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Mark Caulfield
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has patient information about high blood pressure (in English and Spanish) and a guide to lowering high blood pressure that includes personal stories
The American Heart Association provides information on high blood pressure and on cardiovascular diseases (in several languages); it also provides personal stories about dealing with high blood pressure
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information for patients about hypertension (including a personal story) and about cardiovascular disease
The World Health Organization provides information on cardiovascular disease and controlling blood pressure; its A Global Brief on Hypertension was published on World Health Day 2013
The UK charity Blood Pressure UK provides information about white-coat hypertension and about home blood pressure monitoring
MedlinePlus provides links to further information about high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC3897370  PMID: 24465187
3.  E-selectin gene polymorphisms are associated with essential hypertension: a case-control pilot study in a Chinese population 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:127.
Genetic variation is thought to contribute to the etiology of hypertension, and E-selectin is a candidate essential hypertension-associated gene. This study thus sought to investigate possible genetic associations between the T1880C, C602A and T1559C polymorphisms of E-selectin and essential hypertension.
Hypertensive patients (n = 490) and healthy normotensive subjects (n = 495) were screened for the genotypes T1880C, C602A and T1559C using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction after DNA extraction to identify representative variations in the E-selectin gene. The associations between genotypes and alleles of the three mutations and essential hypertension were then analyzed using a case-control study.
Hypertensive patients and normotensive subjects were significantly different with respect to the genotypes CC, CA and AA (P = 0.005) and the C-allele frequency of C602A (P = 0.001). A comparison of dominant versus recessive models also revealed significant differences between the two groups (P = 0.004 and P = 0.02). When subgrouped by gender, these indexes differed significantly between normotensive and essential hypertensive males, but not in females. The additive model of the T1559C genotype did not differ between essential hypertensive and normotensive groups overall (P = 0.39), but it was different between hypertensive and normotensive males (P = 0.046) and females (P = 0.045). The CC + TC versus TT frequency of T1559C was also different in the recessive model of male hypertensive and normotensive groups (P = 0.02). Further analysis showed that C602A and T1559C were significantly associated with hypertension (C602A: OR = 7.58, 95%CI = 1.53-11.97, P < 0.01; and T1559C: OR = 6.77, 95%CI = 1.07-1.83, P < 0.05). The frequency of the C-C-C haplotype was significantly higher in hypertensive patients than in control individuals as well as in hypertensive and normotensive males (P = 0.008 and 0.01). The frequency of the C-A-T haplotype was higher only in male hypertensives and normotensives (P = 0.015). Furthermore, there was a significant interaction between E-selectin and gender (P = 0.02 for C602A and 0.04 for T1559C).
C602A and T1559C may be independent risk factors for essential hypertension in the Chinese population, whereas T1880C is not.
PMCID: PMC2940768  PMID: 20796317
4.  Survival in treated hypertension: follow up study after two decades 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1998;317(7152):167-171.
Objective: To compare survival and cause specific mortality in hypertensive men with non-hypertensive men derived from the same random population, and to study mortality and morbidity from cardiovascular diseases in the hypertensive men in relation to effects on cardiovascular risk factors during 22-23 years of follow up.
Design: Prospective, population based observational study.
Subjects and methods: 686 hypertensive men aged 47-55 at screening compared with 6810 non-hypertensive men. The hypertensive men were having stepped care treatment with either β adrenergic blocking drugs, thiazide diuretics, or combination treatment. Mortality, morbidity, and adverse effects were registered at yearly examinations and from death certificates.
Main outcome measures: All cause mortality and cause specific mortality.
Results: Treated hypertensive men had significantly impaired probability of total survival as well as survival from coronary heart disease and stroke. All cause mortality as well as coronary heart disease and stroke mortality were very similar in hypertensive men and normotensive men during the first decade, but increased steadily thereafter despite continuous good blood pressure control. Smoking, signs of target organ damage, and high serum cholesterol levels, but not blood pressure at screening, were significantly related to the incidence of coronary heart disease during follow up. In time dependent Cox’s regression analysis, the incidence of coronary heart disease was significantly related only to serum cholesterol concentrations in the study. Cancer mortality was almost similar in treated hypertensive men (61/686, 8.9%) and non-hypertensive men (732/6810, 10.8%).
Conclusion: Treated hypertensive men had impaired survival and increased mortality from cardiovascular disease compared with non-hypertensive men of similar age. These differences were observed during the second decade of follow up. During an observation period of 22-23 years—about 15 000 patient years—hypertensive men receiving diuretics and β blockers had no increased risk of cancer or non-cardiovascular disease.
Key messages Hypertension is a prevalent (10-20%) and important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In controlled trials over 3-5 years drug treatment for hypertension prevents these complications, but little is known about long term prognosis During 20-22 years treated hypertensive men had a significantly increased mortality, especially from coronary heart disease, compared with non-hypertensive men from the same population The high incidence of myocardial infarction was related to organ damage, smoking, and cholesterol at the time of entry to the study, and to achieved serum cholesterol concentrations during follow up The poor prognosis for mortality from coronary heart disease is dependent upon strict monitoring of serum cholesterol concentrations
PMCID: PMC28606  PMID: 9665894
5.  Lifestyle modifications to prevent and control hypertension. 1. Methods and an overview of the Canadian recommendations. Canadian Hypertension Society, Canadian Coalition for High Blood Pressure Prevention and Control, Laboratory Centre for Disease Control at Health Canada, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada 
OBJECTIVE: To provide updated, evidence-based recommendations for health care professionals on lifestyle changes to prevent and control hypertension in otherwise healthy adults (except pregnant women). OPTIONS: For people at risk for hypertension, there are a number of lifestyle options that may avert the condition--maintaining a healthy body weight, moderating consumption of alcohol, exercising, reducing sodium intake, altering intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium, and reducing stress. Following these options will maintain or reduce the risk of hypertension. For people who already have hypertension, the options for controlling the condition are lifestyle modification, antihypertensive medications or a combination of these options; with no treatment, these people remain at risk for the complications of hypertension. OUTCOMES: The health outcomes considered were changes in blood pressure and in morbidity and mortality rates. Because of insufficient evidence, no economic outcomes were considered. EVIDENCE: A MEDLINE search was conducted for the period January 1996 to September 1996 for each of the interventions studied. Reference lists were scanned, experts were polled, and the personal files of the authors were used to identify other studies. All relevant articles were reviewed, classified according to study design and graded according to level of evidence. VALUES: A high value was placed on the avoidance of cardiovascular morbidity and premature death caused by untreated hypertension. BENEFITS, HARMS AND COSTS: Lifestyle modification by means of weight loss (or maintenance of healthy body weight), regular exercise and low alcohol consumption will reduce the blood pressure of appropriately selected normotensive and hypertensive people. Sodium restriction and stress management will reduce the blood pressure of appropriately selected hypertensive patients. The side effects of these therapies are few, and the indirect benefits are well known. There are certainly costs associated with lifestyle modification, but they were not measured in the studies reviewed. Supplementing the diet with potassium, calcium and magnesium has not been associated with a clinically important reduction in blood pressure in people consuming a healthy diet. RECOMMENDATIONS: (1) It is recommended that health care professionals determine the body mass index (weight in kilograms/[height in metres]2) and alcohol consumption of all adult patients and assess sodium consumption and stress levels in all hypertensive patients. (2) To reduce blood pressure in the population at large, it is recommended that Canadians attain and maintain a healthy body mass index. For those who choose to drink alcohol intake should be limited to 2 or fewer standard drinks per day (maximum of 14/week for men and 9/week for women). Adults should exercise regularly. (3) To reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients, individualized therapy is recommended. This therapy should emphasize weight loss for overweight patients, abstinence from or moderation in alcohol intake, regular exercise, restriction of sodium intake and, in appropriate circumstances, individualized cognitive behaviour modification to reduce the negative effects of stress. VALIDATION: The recommendations were reviewed by all of the sponsoring organizations and by participants in a satellite symposium of the fourth international Conference on Preventive Cardiology. They are similar to those of the World Hypertension League and the Joint National committee, with the exception of the recommendations on stress management, which are based on new information. They have not been clinically tested. SPONSORS: The Canadian Hypertension Society, the Canadian Coalition for High Blood Pressure Prevention and Control, the Laboratory Centre for Disease Control at health Canada, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
PMCID: PMC1230333  PMID: 10333847
6.  hs-CRP: A potential marker for hypertension in Kashmiri population 
Hypertension is the most important public health problem in developing countries and one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, and it has been reported that hypertension is in part an inflammatory disorder and several workers have reported elevated levels of CRP in hypertensive individuals. The main aim of the present study was to evaluate the association between blood pressure and serum CRP levels across the range of blood pressure categories including prehypertension. A total of 104 patients and 63 control subjects were included in the present study. The level of CRP in the serum samples was estimated by a high sensitivity immunoturbidometric assay. Standard unpaired student’s ‘t’ test was used for comparison of hs-CRP levels between hypertensive patients and normotensive control subjects and between patient groups with different grades of hypertension and different durations of hypertensive histories. The mean serum hs-CRP level in hypertensive patients was 3.26 mg/L compared with 1.36 mg/L among normotensive control subjects (P<0.001). On comparison with normotensive control subjects, the hs-CRP levels vary significantly both with grades and duration of hypertension, with most significant difference found in patients with prehypertension (P<0.001), followed by Stage-I (P=0.01) and Stage-II(P=0.02) hypertensives. Significant difference in hs-CRP levels was also found in patients with shorter duration of hypertensive history (≤ 1year) when compared with those with ≥5 years of hypertensive history (P<0.01). Our study reveals a graded association between blood pressure and CRP elevation in people with hypertension. Individuals with prehypertension or with shorter duration of hypertension (≤1 Year) had significantly a greater likelihood of CRP elevation in comparison to chronic stage-I or stage-II hypertensives.
PMCID: PMC3453101  PMID: 23105911
Hypertension; Inflammatory disorder; hs-CRP; Stage I
7.  Trends of blood pressure levels and management in Västerbotten County, Sweden, during 1990–2010 
Global Health Action  2012;5:10.3402/gha.v5i0.18195.
Availability of longitudinal data on hypertension and blood pressure levels are important to assess changes over time at the population level. Moreover, detailed information in different population sub-groups is important to understand inequity and social determinants of blood pressure distribution in the population.
The objectives of this study are to: (1) describe the trends of population blood pressure levels in men and women between different educational levels and geographic areas in Sweden during 1990–2010; (2) identify prevalences of hypertension, awareness, treatment, and control in the population; and (3) assess the 10-year risk of developing hypertension among individuals with normal and high normal blood pressures.
This study is based on data from the Västerbotten Intervention Program (VIP) in Västerbotten County, Sweden. The cross-sectional analysis includes 133,082 VIP health examinations among individuals aged 30, 40, 50, and 60 years from 1990 to 2010. The panel analysis includes 34,868 individuals who were re-examined 10 years after the baseline examination. Individuals completed a self-administered health questionnaire that covers demographic and socio-economic information, self-reported health, and lifestyle behaviours. Blood pressure measurement was obtained prior to the questionnaire. In the cross-sectional analysis, trends of blood pressure by sex, and between educational groups and geographic areas are presented. In the panel analysis, the 10-year risk of developing hypertension is estimated using the predicted probability from logistic regression analysis for each sex, controlling for age and educational level.
The prevalence of hypertension decreased from 1990 to 2010; from 43.8 to 36.0% (p < 0.001) among men, and 37.6 to 27.5% among women (p < 0.001). Individuals with basic education had a significantly higher prevalence of hypertension compared to those with medium or high education. Although the decreases were observed in all geographic areas, individuals in rural inland areas had a much higher prevalence compared to those who lived in Umeå City. The proportion of hypertensive women who were aware of their hypertension (61.7%) was significantly higher than men (51.6%). About 34% of men and 42% of women with hypertension reported taking blood pressure medication. Over time, awareness and control of hypertension improved (from 46.5% in 1990 to 69% in 2010 and from 30 to 65%, respectively). The gaps between educational groups diminished. This study shows a significantly higher risk of developing hypertension for men and women with high normal blood pressure compared to those with normal blood pressure at baseline in all age cohorts and educational groups. The average risks of developing hypertension among men with high normal blood pressure were 21.5, 45.8, and 56.3% in the 30, 40, and 50-year cohorts, respectively. Corresponding numbers for women were 22.6, 47.4, and 57.9%.
Levels of blood pressure and hypertension decreased significantly among the Västerbotten population in the last 21 years. Hypertension management has improved and there is increased awareness, treatment, and control of blood pressure. Despite these achievements, the persisting social gaps in blood pressure levels and management demand further investigation and action from policy makers. Future research should attempt to identify and address the root causes of these health inequities to ensure better and equal health for the whole population.
PMCID: PMC3409341  PMID: 22855645
hypertension; awareness; treatment; control; Sweden; Västerbotten Intervention Program; high normal; prehypertension
8.  Changes in left ventricular structure and function in patients with white coat hypertension: cross sectional survey 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1998;317(7158):565-570.
Objectives: To assess the relation between white coat hypertension and alterations of left ventricular structure and function.
Design: Cross sectional survey.
Setting: Augsburg, Germany.
Subjects: 1677 subjects, aged 25 to 74 years, who participated in an echocardiographic substudy of the monitoring of trends and determinants in cardiovascular disease Augsburg study during 1994-5.
Outcome measures: Blood pressure measurements and M mode, two dimensional, and Doppler echocardiography. After at least 30 minutes’ rest blood pressure was measured three times by a technician, and once by a physician after echocardiography. Subjects were classified as normotensive (technician <140/90 mm Hg, physician <160/95 mm Hg; n=849), white coat hypertensive (technician <140/90 mm Hg, physician ⩾160/95 mm Hg; n=160), mildly hypertensive (technician ⩾140/90 mm Hg, physician <160/95 mm Hg; n=129), and sustained hypertensive (taking antihypertensive drugs or blood pressure measured by a technican ⩾140/90 mm Hg, and physician ⩾160/95 mm Hg; n=538).
Results: White coat hypertension was more common in men than women (10.9% versus 8.2% respectively) and positively related to age and body mass index. After adjustment for these variables, white coat hypertension was associated with an increase in left ventricular mass and an increased prevalence of left ventricular hypertrophy (odds ratio 1.9, 95% confidence interval 1.2 to 3.2; P=0.009) compared with normotensive patients. The increase in left ventricular mass was secondary to significantly increased septal and posterior wall thicknesses whereas end diastolic diameters were similar in both groups with white coat hypertension or normotension. Additionally, the systolic white coat effect (difference between blood pressures recorded by a technician and physician) was associated with increased left ventricular mass and increased prevalence of left ventricular hypertrophy (P<0.05 each). Values for systolic left ventricular function (M mode fractional shortening) were above normal in subjects with white coat hypertension whereas diastolic filling and left atrial size were similar to those in normotension.
Conclusion: About 10% of the general population show exaggerated inotropic and blood pressure responses when mildly stressed. This is associated with an increased risk of left ventricular hypertrophy.
Key messages About 10% of the general population display white coat hypertension After adjustment for age, body mass index, and baseline blood pressure, white coat hypertension is associated with increased left ventricular mass and increased risk of left ventricular hypertrophy In white coat hypertension, after adjustment for covariates, systolic function has values above normal whereas diastolic filling is unchanged White coat hypertension cannot be dismissed as a benign condition
PMCID: PMC28649  PMID: 9721112
9.  Common variants of the beta and gamma subunits of the epithelial sodium channel and their relation to plasma renin and aldosterone levels in essential hypertension 
Rare mutations of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) result in the monogenic hypertension form of Liddle's syndrome. We decided to screen for common variants in the ENaC βand γ subunits in patients with essential hypertension and to relate their occurrence to the activity of circulating renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.
Initially, DNA samples from 27 patients with low renin/low aldosterone hypertension were examined. The DNA variants were subsequently screened for in 347 patients with treatment-resistant hypertension, 175 male subjects with documented long-lasting normotension and 301 healthy Plasma renin and aldosterone levels were measured under baseline conditions and during postural and captopril challenge tests.
Two commonly occurring βENaC variants (G589S and a novel intronic i12-17CT substitution) and one novel γENaC variant (V546I) were detected. One of these variants occurred in a heterozygous form in 32 patients, a prevalence (9.2%) significantly higher than that in normotensive males (2.9%, p = 0.007) and blood donors (3.0%, p = 0.001). βENaC i12-17CT was significantly more prevalent in the hypertension group than in the two control groups combined (4.6% vs. 1.1%, p = 0.001). When expressed in Xenopus oocytes, neither of the two ENaC amino acid-changing variants showed a significant difference in activity compared with ENaC wild-type. No direct evidence for a mRNA splicing defect could be obtained for the βENaC intronic variant. The ratio of daily urinary potassium excretion to upright and mean (of supine and upright values) plasma renin activity was higher in variant allele carriers than in non-carriers (p = 0.034 and p = 0.048).
At least 9% of Finnish patients with hypertension admitted to a specialized center carry genetic variants of β and γENaC, a three times higher prevalence than in the normotensive individuals or in random healthy controls. Patients with the variant alleles showed an increased urinary potassium excretion rate in relation to their renin levels.
PMCID: PMC547905  PMID: 15661075
10.  Serum uric acid level in newly diagnosed essential hypertension in a Nepalese population: A hospital based cross sectional study 
To develop the missing link between hyperuricemia and hypertension.
The study was conducted in Department of Biochemistry in collaboration with Nephrology Unit of Internal Medicine Department. Hypertension was defined according to blood pressure readings by definitions of the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee. Totally 205 newly diagnosed and untreated essential hypertensive cases and age-sex matched normotensive controls were enrolled in the study. The potential confounding factors of hyperuricemia and hypertension in both cases and controls were controlled. Uric acid levels in all participants were analyzed.
Renal function between newly diagnosed hypertensive cases and normotensive healthy controls were adjusted. The mean serum uric acid observed in newly diagnosed hypertensive cases and in normotensive healthy controls were (290.05±87.05) µmol/L and (245.24±99.38) µmol/L respectively. A total of 59 (28.8%) participants of cases and 28 (13.7%) participants of controls had hyperuricemia (odds ratio 2.555 (95% CI: 1.549-4.213), P<0.001).
The mean serum uric acid levels and number of hyperuricemic subjects were found to be significantly higher in cases when compared to controls.
PMCID: PMC3819497  PMID: 24144132
Newly diagnosed hypertension; Serum uric acid; Hyperuricemia; Joint National Committee
11.  Assessment of antioxidant enzyme activities in erythrocytes of pre-hypertensive and hypertensive women 
Few studies that have investigated hypertension have considered a state of oxidative stress that can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and other hypertension induced organ damage. The aim of this study was to investigate whether pre-hypertension and hypertension status is associated with activities of erythrocyte antioxidant enzymes in a random sample of cardiovascular disease-free women.
In this case-control study, 53 pre-hypertensive women, 32 hypertensive women and 75 healthy controls were included. General information was gathered using questionnaires and face-to-face interviews. Blood pressure and anthropometric measurements were measured for each subject. Venous blood samples were drawn from subjects and plasma was separated. Activities of erythrocyte antioxidant enzymes were also evaluated by measuring activities of copper zinc-superoxide dismutase (CuZn-SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX) and catalase (CAT) in selected subjects.
Fifty-three (33.1%) and 32 (20%) participants were pre-hypertensive and hypertensive, respectively. The hypertensive and pre-hypertensive women had lower CuZn-SOD (p < 0.001) and GPX (p < 0.01) activities compared to normotensives. Furthermore, hypertensive women had lower CAT activity compared to pre-hypertensive and normotensive women (p < 0.001). Moreover, significant differences were also observed between hypertensive and pre-hypertensive women in erythrocyte CAT activity (p < 0.01).
The present findings show that activities of erythrocyte antioxidant enzymes decrease in pre-hypertensive and hypertensive women, which may eventually lead to atherosclerosis and other high blood pressure related health problems.
PMCID: PMC3082824  PMID: 21526095
High Blood Pressure; Antioxidants; Biocatalysts; Woman
12.  The Role of the Endogenous Antioxidant Enzymes and Malondialdehyde in Essential Hypertension 
Context: Oxidative Stress is caused by an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species and a biological system’s ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates.
Aims: 1. To compare the levels of Malondialdehyde (MDA), in hypertensive and normotensive subjects.
2. To compare the levels of the antioxidant enzymes, namely, Catalase, Glutathione peroxidase (GPX) and Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) in hypertensive and normotensive subjects.
3. To determine the correlation between the MDA levels and the mean arterial pressure (MAP) among hypertensive subjects.
4. To determine the correlation between the antioxidant enzyme levels and MAP among the hypertensive subjects and to evaluate the effect of 6 months of antihypertensive therapy with a tight blood pressure control on the MDA levels.
Materials and Methods : In this cross sectional study, 25 normotensive and 40 hypertensive subjects were recruited. The hypertensive subjects were further subdivided into three subgroups: Prehypertensives, Stage I hypertensives and Stage II hypertensives. All the subjects underwent a blood pressure measurement and the markers of oxidative stress in their sera were estimated. The subjects of Stage I hypertension and Stage II hypertension were given antihypertensive treatment for 6 months and their blood pressures were tightly regulated and brought to the normotensive state. After 6 months, the estimations of the markers of oxidative stress were done again.
Results: The MDA levels were significantly increased in the stage I and stage II hypertension groups as compared to those of the control group (p<0.05). The antioxidant enzymes (SOD, Catalase and GPX) were significantly decreased (p<0.05) in the prehypertension and in the stage I and stage II hypertension groups as compared to those in the control group. There was a significant increase in the levels of the antioxidant enzymes after 6 months of a tight regulation and bringing of the blood pressure to the normotensive state by giving antihypertensive therapy.
Conclusion: On comparison of the present study with other studies in which the use of antioxidants were found to be ineffective in the blood pressure reduction, it can be concluded that oxidative stress is an effect rather than a cause of essential hypertension.
PMCID: PMC3708256  PMID: 23905086
Essential hypertension; Oxidative Stress; Catalase; Glutathione peroxidase; Superoxide Dismutase Antihypertensive therapy
13.  Good knowledge about hypertension is linked to better control of hypertension; A multicentre cross sectional study in Karachi, Pakistan 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:579.
According to the National Health survey only 3% of the population has controlled hypertension. This study was designed to elucidate the knowledge about hypertension in hypertensive patients at three tertiary care centers in Karachi. Secondly we sought to compare the knowledge of those with uncontrolled hypertension and controlled hypertension.
It was a cross-sectional study conducted at The Aga Khan University hospital (AKUH), Ziauddin Hospital (ZH) and Civil hospital, Karachi (CHK. All diagnosed Hypertensive patients (both inpatients and outpatients) coming to a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan aged > 18 years were included. Patients were categorized into 2 groups: controlled and uncontrolled hypertension based on their initial BP readings on presentation Uncontrolled Hypertension was defined as average BP ≥ 140/90 mm Hg in patients on treatment. Controlled Hypertension (HTN) was defined as average BP <140/90 mm Hg in patients on treatment. Standardized methods were used to record BP in the sitting position. Knowledge was recorded as a15 item question. Primary outcome was knowledge about hypertension.
A total of 650 participants were approached and consented 447 were found eligible. 284(63.5%) were from Aga Khan University, 101(22.6) from Dow University of health sciences and 62(13.9) were from Ziauddin University. Mean (SD) age of participants was 57.7(12) years, 50.1(224) were men. Controlled hypertension was present in 323(72.3) and uncontrolled hypertension was present in 124(27.4). The total mean (SD) Knowledge score was 20.97(4.93) out of a maximum score of 38. On comparison of questions related to knowledge between uncontrolled and controlled hypertension, there was statistically significant different in; meaning of hypertension (p <0.001), target SBP(p0.001), target DBP(p 0.001), importance of SBP versus DBP, improvement of health with lowering of blood pressure (p 0.002), high blood pressure being asymptomatic (p <0.001), changing lifestyle improves blood pressure(p 0.003),hypertension being a lifelong disease (<0.001), lifelong treatment with antihypertensives(<0.001) and high blood pressure being part of aging(<0.001). On comparison of knowledge as a composite score between uncontrolled and controlled hypertensive; Mean (SD) score was 21.85(4.74) v18.67 (4.70) (p value: < 0.001). On multivariate analysis; gender β (95% CI) 1.67(0.75, 2.59) p <0.001, uncontrolled blood pressure; -2.70(−3.76,-1.67) p <0.001, Sindhi ethnicity; -1.79(−3.25,-3.27) p 0.01 and pukhtoon ethnicity; -2.72(−4.13,-1.32) p <0.001 were significantly associated with knowledge score.
Knowledge about hypertension in hypertensive patients is not adequate and is alarmingly poor in patients with uncontrolled hypertension. More emphasis needs to be made on target blood pressure and need for taking antihypertensives for life to patients by physicians.
PMCID: PMC3534478  PMID: 23095492
Hypertension; Knowledge; Uncontrolled hypertension
14.  Twenty-Four-Hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring in Hypertension 
Executive Summary
The objective of this health technology assessment was to determine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) for hypertension.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Hypertension occurs when either systolic blood pressure, the pressure in the artery when the heart contracts, or diastolic blood pressure, the pressure in the artery when the heart relaxes between beats, are consistently high. Blood pressure (BP) that is consistently more than 140/90 mmHg (systolic/diastolic) is considered high. A lower threshold, greater than 130/80 mmHg (systolic/diastolic), is set for individuals with diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
In 2006 and 2007, the age-standardized incidence rate of diagnosed hypertension in Canada was 25.8 per 1,000 (450,000 individuals were newly diagnosed). During the same time period, 22.7% of adult Canadians were living with diagnosed hypertension.
A smaller proportion of Canadians are unaware they have hypertension; therefore, the estimated number of Canadians affected by this disease may be higher. Diagnosis and management of hypertension are important, since elevated BP levels are related to the risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke. In Canada in 2003, the costs to the health care system related to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of hypertension were over $2.3 billion (Cdn).
The 24-hour ABPM device consists of a standard inflatable cuff attached to a small computer weighing about 500 grams, which is worn over the shoulder or on a belt. The technology is noninvasive and fully automated. The device takes BP measurements every 15 to 30 minutes over a 24-to 28-hour time period, thus providing extended, continuous BP recordings even during a patient’s normal daily activities. Information on the multiple BP measurements can be downloaded to a computer.
The main detection methods used by the device are auscultation and oscillometry. The device avoids some of the pitfalls of conventional office or clinic blood pressure monitoring (CBPM) using a cuff and mercury sphygmomanometer such as observer bias (the phenomenon of measurement error when the observer overemphasizes expected results) and white coat hypertension (the phenomenon of elevated BP when measured in the office or clinic but normal BP when measured outside of the medical setting).
Research Questions
Is there a difference in patient outcome and treatment protocol using 24-hour ABPM versus CBPM for uncomplicated hypertension?
Is there a difference between the 2 technologies when white coat hypertension is taken into account?
What is the cost-effectiveness and budget impact of 24-hour ABPM versus CBPM for uncomplicated hypertension?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on August 4, 2011 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 1997 to August 4, 2011. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer. For those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist and then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
English language articles;
published between January 1, 1997 and August 4, 2011;
adults aged 18 years of age or older;
journal articles reporting on the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, or safety for the comparison of interest;
clearly described study design and methods;
health technology assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, or randomized controlled trials.
Exclusion Criteria
non-English papers;
animal or in vitro studies;
case reports, case series, or case-case studies;
studies comparing different antihypertensive therapies and evaluating their antihypertensive effects using 24-hour ABPM;
studies on home or self-monitoring of BP, and studies on automated office BP measurement;
studies in high-risk subgroups (e.g. diabetes, pregnancy, kidney disease).
Outcomes of Interest
Patient Outcomes
mortality: all cardiovascular events (e.g., myocardial infarction [MI], stroke);
non-fatal: all cardiovascular events (e.g., MI, stroke);
combined fatal and non-fatal: all cardiovascular events (e.g., MI, stroke);
all non-cardiovascular events;
control of BP (e.g. systolic and/or diastolic target level).
Drug-Related Outcomes
percentage of patients who show a reduction in, or stop, drug treatment;
percentage of patients who begin multi-drug treatment;
drug therapy use (e.g. number, intensity of drug use);
drug-related adverse events.
Quality of Evidence
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria.
As stated by the GRADE Working Group, the following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
Short-Term Follow-Up Studies (Length of Follow-Up of ≤ 1 Year)
Based on very low quality of evidence, there is no difference between technologies for non-fatal cardiovascular events.
Based on moderate quality of evidence, ABPM resulted in improved BP control among patients with sustained hypertension compared to CBPM.
Based on low quality of evidence, ABPM resulted in hypertensive patients being more likely to stop antihypertensive therapy and less likely to proceed to multi-drug therapy compared to CBPM.
Based on low quality of evidence, there is a beneficial effect of ABPM on the intensity of antihypertensive drug use compared to CBPM.
Based on moderate quality of evidence, there is no difference between technologies in the number of antihypertensive drugs used.
Based on low to very low quality of evidence, there is no difference between technologies in the risk for a drug-related adverse event or noncardiovascular event.
Long-Term Follow-Up Study (Mean Length of Follow-Up of 5 Years)
Based on moderate quality of evidence, there is a beneficial effect of ABPM on total combined cardiovascular events compared to CBPM.
Based on low quality of evidence, there is a lack of a beneficial effect of ABPM on nonfatal cardiovascular events compared to CBPM; however, the lack of a beneficial effect is based on a borderline result.
Based on low quality of evidence, there is no beneficial effect of ABPM on fatal cardiovascular events compared to CBPM.
Based on low quality of evidence, there is no difference between technologies for the number of patients who began multi-drug therapy.
Based on low quality of evidence, there is a beneficial effect of CBPM on control of BP compared to ABPM. This result is in the opposite direction than expected.
Based on moderate quality of evidence, there is no difference between technologies in the risk for a drug-related adverse event.
PMCID: PMC3377518  PMID: 23074425
15.  Arterial hypertension assessed “out-of-office” in a contemporary cohort of rheumatoid arthritis patients free of cardiovascular disease is characterized by high prevalence, low awareness, poor control and increased vascular damage-associated “white coat” phenomenon 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(5):R142.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with a high cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, whereas arterial hypertension is a major modifiable CVD risk factor with still unclear prevalence in RA disease. We conducted a comprehensive study on hypertension characteristics evaluating for the first time out-of-office blood pressure (BP) in a typical contemporary RA cohort.
Assessment of office and out-of-office BP (when office systolic/diastolic BP was >129/79) and vascular studies including evaluation of aortic stiffness, carotid hypertrophy/plaques and ankle-brachial index, were performed in 214 consecutive, consenting RA patients free of CVD (aged 58.4 ± 12.3 years, 82% women). As comparators regarding office hypertension measurements, data from 214 subjects (1:1 matched for age and gender with the RA patients) derived from a cohort designed to assess the prevalence of hypertension in the general population were used.
The prevalence of declared known hypertension in the RA population was 44%. Of the remaining RA patients, 2 in every 5 individuals had abnormal office BP (systolic/diastolic >139/89 mmHg), contributing to almost double the prevalence of declared/office hypertension compared to the general matched population (67% vs. 34%). Out-of-office (home or ambulatory 24 hour) BP measurements revealed that: (i) a 54% prevalence of actual hypertension in RA, in other words almost 10% of the patients were unaware of having hypertension and (ii) 29% of the RA patients with known hypertension were not well controlled. Actual hypertension was positively associated with age and body mass index, and inversely with the use of biologic drugs. Overall, almost 1 out of 5 presented the 'white coat’ phenomenon. An intermediately compromised vascular phenotype was evident in this “white coat” subgroup (lying between patients with sustained normotension and sustained hypertension) in terms of aortic stiffness, carotid hypertrophy and ankle-brachial index, even after adjustment for confounders.
Beyond any doubt on the basis of out-of-office evaluation, arterial hypertension in RA has a high prevalence, low awareness and poor control, as well as substantial and vascular damage-associated “white coat” phenomenon. Thus, correct diagnosis and effective treatment of hypertension is of key importance in RA for CVD risk reduction.
PMCID: PMC3978881  PMID: 24286134
16.  Increased Circulating ANG II and TNF-α Represents Important Risk Factors in Obese Saudi Adults with Hypertension Irrespective of Diabetic Status and BMI 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51255.
Central adiposity is a significant determinant of obesity-related hypertension risk, which may arise due to the pathogenic inflammatory nature of the abdominal fat depot. However, the influence of pro-inflammatory adipokines on blood pressure in the obese hypertensive phenotype has not been well established in Saudi subjects. As such, our study investigated whether inflammatory factors may represent useful biomarkers to delineate hypertension risk in a Saudi cohort with and without hypertension and/or diabetes mellitus type 2 (DMT2). Subjects were subdivided into four groups: healthy lean controls (age: 47.9±5.1 yr; BMI: 22.9±2.1 Kg/m2), non-hypertensive obese (age: 46.1±5.0 yr; BMI: 33.7±4.2 Kg/m2), hypertensive obese (age: 48.6±6.1 yr; BMI: 36.5±7.7 Kg/m2) and hypertensive obese with DMT2 (age: 50.8±6.0 yr; BMI: 35.3±6.7 Kg/m2). Anthropometric data were collected from all subjects and fasting blood samples were utilized for biochemical analysis. Serum angiotensin II (ANG II) levels were elevated in hypertensive obese (p<0.05) and hypertensive obese with DMT2 (p<0.001) compared with normotensive controls. Systolic blood pressure was positively associated with BMI (p<0.001), glucose (p<0.001), insulin (p<0.05), HOMA-IR (p<0.001), leptin (p<0.01), TNF-α (p<0.001) and ANG II (p<0.05). Associations between ANG II and TNF-α with systolic blood pressure remained significant after controlling for BMI. Additionally CRP (p<0.05), leptin (p<0.001) and leptin/adiponectin ratio (p<0.001) were also significantly associated with the hypertension phenotype. In conclusion our data suggests that circulating pro-inflammatory adipokines, particularly ANG II and, TNF-α, represent important factors associated with a hypertension phenotype and may directly contribute to predicting and exacerbating hypertension risk.
PMCID: PMC3520992  PMID: 23251471
17.  The Influence of Health Systems on Hypertension Awareness, Treatment, and Control: A Systematic Literature Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(7):e1001490.
Will Maimaris and colleagues systematically review the evidence that national or regional health systems, including place of care and medication co-pays, influence hypertension awareness, treatment, and control.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Hypertension (HT) affects an estimated one billion people worldwide, nearly three-quarters of whom live in low- or middle-income countries (LMICs). In both developed and developing countries, only a minority of individuals with HT are adequately treated. The reasons are many but, as with other chronic diseases, they include weaknesses in health systems. We conducted a systematic review of the influence of national or regional health systems on HT awareness, treatment, and control.
Methods and Findings
Eligible studies were those that analyzed the impact of health systems arrangements at the regional or national level on HT awareness, treatment, control, or antihypertensive medication adherence. The following databases were searched on 13th May 2013: Medline, Embase, Global Health, LILACS, Africa-Wide Information, IMSEAR, IMEMR, and WPRIM. There were no date or language restrictions. Two authors independently assessed papers for inclusion, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias. A narrative synthesis of the findings was conducted. Meta-analysis was not conducted due to substantial methodological heterogeneity in included studies. 53 studies were included, 11 of which were carried out in LMICs. Most studies evaluated health system financing and only four evaluated the effect of either human, physical, social, or intellectual resources on HT outcomes. Reduced medication co-payments were associated with improved HT control and treatment adherence, mainly evaluated in US settings. On balance, health insurance coverage was associated with improved outcomes of HT care in US settings. Having a routine place of care or physician was associated with improved HT care.
This review supports the minimization of medication co-payments in health insurance plans, and although studies were largely conducted in the US, the principle is likely to apply more generally. Studies that identify and analyze complexities and links between health systems arrangements and their effects on HT management are required, particularly in LMICs.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
In 2008, one billion people, three-quarters of whom were living in low- and middle-income countries, had high blood pressure (hypertension). Worldwide, hypertension, which rarely has any symptoms, leads to about 7.5 million deaths annually from heart attacks, stroke, other cardiovascular diseases, and kidney disease. Hypertension, selected by the World Health Organization as the theme for World Health Day 2013, is diagnosed by measuring blood pressure, the force that blood circulating in the body exerts on the inside of large blood vessels. Blood pressure is highest when the heart is contracts to pump blood out (systolic blood pressure) and lowest when the heart relaxes and refills (diastolic blood pressure). Normal adult blood pressure is defined as a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and a diastolic blood pressure of less than 80 mmHg (a blood pressure of less than 120/80 mmHg). A blood pressure reading of more than 140/90 mmHg indicates hypertension. Many factors affect blood pressure, but overweight people and individuals who eat fatty or salty foods are at high risk of developing hypertension.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most individuals can achieve good hypertension control, which reduces death and disability from cardiovascular and kidney disease, by making lifestyle changes (mild hypertension) and/or by taking antihypertensive drugs. Yet, in both developed and developing countries, many people with hypertension are not aware of their condition and are not adequately treated. As with other chronic diseases, weaknesses in health care systems probably contribute to the inadequate treatment of hypertension. A health care system comprises all the organizations, institutions, and resources whose primary purpose is to improve health. Weaknesses in health care systems can exist at the national, regional, district, community, and household level. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers investigate how national and regional health care system arrangements influence hypertension awareness, treatment, and control. Actions that might influence hypertension care at this level of health care systems include providing treatment for hypertension at no or reduced cost, the introduction of financial incentives to healthcare practitioners for the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension, and enhanced insurance coverage in countries such as the US where people pay for health care through insurance policies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 53 studies that analyzed whether regional or national health care systems arrangements were associated with patient awareness of hypertension, treatment of hypertension, adherence to antihypertensive medication treatment, and control of hypertension. The researchers used an established conceptual framework for health care systems and an approach called narrative synthesis to analyze the results of these studies, most of which were conducted in the US (36 studies) and other high-income countries (eight studies). Nearly all the studies evaluated the effects of health system financing on hypertension outcomes, although several looked at the effects of delivery and governance of health systems on these outcomes. The researchers' analysis revealed an association between reduced medication co-payments (drug costs that are not covered by health insurance and that are paid by patients in countries without universal free healthcare) and improved hypertension control and treatment adherence, mainly in US settings. In addition, in US settings, health insurance coverage was associated with improved hypertension outcomes, as was having a routine physician or place of care.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that minimizing co-payments for health care and expansion of health insurance coverage in countries without universal free health care may improve the awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension. Although these findings are based mainly on US studies, they are likely to apply more generally but, importantly, these findings indicate that additional, high-quality studies are needed to unravel the impact of health systems arrangements on the management of hypertension. In particular, they reveal few studies in low- and middle-income countries where most of the global burden of hypertension lies and where weaknesses in health systems often result in deficiencies in the care of chronic diseases. Moreover, they highlight a need for studies that evaluate how aspects of health care systems other than financing (for example, delivery and governance mechanisms) and interactions between health care system arrangements affect hypertension outcomes. Without the results of such studies, governments and national and international organizations will not know the best ways to deal effectively with the global public-health crisis posed by hypertension.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute has patient information about high blood pressure (in English and Spanish)
The American Heart Association provides information on high blood pressure (in several languages) and personal stories about dealing with high blood pressure
The UK National Health Service (NHS) Choices website provides detailed information for patients about hypertension and a personal story about hypertension
The World Health Organization provides information on controlling blood pressure and on health systems (in several languages); its "A Global Brief on Hypertension" was published on World Health Day 2013
MedlinePlus provides links to further information about high blood pressure (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC3728036  PMID: 23935461
18.  Cardiovascular mortality among a cohort of hypertensive and normotensives in Rio de Janeiro - Brazil - 1991–2009 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:623.
Although there is strong evidence of the benefits of antihypertensive treatment, the high prevalence of this important cardiovascular risk factor and its complications, as well as the low control rates of hypertension observed in many studies justify the investigation of these relationships in population studies. The objective was to investigate the ratio of cardiovascular disease mortality between hypertensives (non-treated, controlled and uncontrolled) and non-hypertensives in a cohort of a population sample of adults living in Ilha do Governador, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, who were classified in a survey conducted in 1991 and 1992 and whose death certificates were sought 19 years later.
A cohort study was performed on probabilistic linkage between data from an epidemiological study of hypertension performed in Ilha do Governador, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1991 to 1992) and data from the Mortality Information System of Rio de Janeiro (1991 to 2009). The survey aimed to estimate the prevalence of hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors in 1,270 adults aged 20 years or older selected through a probabilistic sampling of households at three economic levels (low, middle and high income). We performed a probabilistic record linkage of these databases and estimated the risk of cardiovascular death using Kaplan-Meier method to plot survival curves and Cox proportional hazards models comparing hypertensive subjects all together, and by hypertension subgroups: untreated, controlled, and uncontrolled hypertensives with non-hypertensive ones.
A total of 170 deaths occurred, of which 31.2 % attributed to cardiovascular causes. The hazard ratio for cardiovascular death was 6.1 times higher (95 % CI 2.7 – 13.7) in uncontrolled hypertensive patients relative to non-hypertensive patients. The hazard ratios for untreated hypertensive and controlled hypertensive patients were 2.7 times (95 % CI 1.1 – 6.3) and 2.1 times (95 % CI 0.38 – 11.5) higher than for normotensive patients, respectively.
The present study demonstrated a higher cardiovascular death risk among hypertensive than among non-hypertensive ones that is not associated uniquely to treatment, because uncontrolled hypertensives demonstrated a greater risk than untreated ones. Although the subgroups of hypertensive individuals were susceptible to changes in their classification over the 19 years of the study, the baseline classification was consistent with a worse prognosis in these individuals.
PMCID: PMC4495630  PMID: 26152148
Hypertension; Blood pressure; Cardiovascular diseases; Mortality; Survival analysis; Proportional hazards models
19.  Alcohol Intake and Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review Implementing a Mendelian Randomization Approach 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(3):e52.
Alcohol has been reported to be a common and modifiable risk factor for hypertension. However, observational studies are subject to confounding by other behavioural and sociodemographic factors, while clinical trials are difficult to implement and have limited follow-up time. Mendelian randomization can provide robust evidence on the nature of this association by use of a common polymorphism in aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) as a surrogate for measuring alcohol consumption. ALDH2 encodes a major enzyme involved in alcohol metabolism. Individuals homozygous for the null variant (*2*2) experience adverse symptoms when drinking alcohol and consequently drink considerably less alcohol than wild-type homozygotes (*1*1) or heterozygotes. We hypothesise that this polymorphism may influence the risk of hypertension by affecting alcohol drinking behaviour.
Methods and Findings
We carried out fixed effect meta-analyses of the ALDH2 genotype with blood pressure (five studies, n = 7,658) and hypertension (three studies, n = 4,219) using studies identified via systematic review. In males, we obtained an overall odds ratio of 2.42 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.66–3.55, p = 4.8 × 10−6) for hypertension comparing *1*1 with *2*2 homozygotes and an odds ratio of 1.72 (95% CI 1.17–2.52, p = 0.006) comparing heterozygotes (surrogate for moderate drinkers) with *2*2 homozygotes. Systolic blood pressure was 7.44 mmHg (95% CI 5.39–9.49, p = 1.1 × 10−12) greater among *1*1 than among *2*2 homozygotes, and 4.24 mmHg (95% CI 2.18–6.31, p = 0.00005) greater among heterozygotes than among *2*2 homozygotes.
These findings support the hypothesis that alcohol intake has a marked effect on blood pressure and the risk of hypertension.
Using a mendelian randomization approach Sarah Lewis and colleagues find strong support for the hypothesis that alcohol intake has a marked effect on blood pressure and the risk of hypertension.
Editors' Summary
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common medical condition that affects nearly a third of US and UK adults. Hypertension has no symptoms but can lead to heart attacks or strokes. It is diagnosed by measuring blood pressure—the force that blood moving around the body exerts on the inside of large blood vessels. Blood pressure is highest when the heart is pumping out blood (systolic pressure) and lowest when it is filling up with blood (diastolic pressure). Normal blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure of less than 130 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and a diastolic pressure of less than 85 mmHg (a blood pressure of 130/85). A reading of more than 140/90 indicates hypertension. Many factors affect blood pressure, but overweight people and individuals who eat too much salty or fatty foods are at high risk of developing hypertension. Mild hypertension can often be corrected by lifestyle changes, but many people also take antihypertensive drugs to reduce their blood pressure.
Why Was This Study Done?
Another modifiable lifestyle factor thought to affect blood pressure is alcohol intake. Observational studies that ask people about their drinking habits and measure their blood pressure suggest that alcohol intake correlates with blood pressure, but they cannot prove a causal link because of “confounding”—other risk factors associated with alcohol drinking, such as diet, might also affect the study participant's blood pressures. A trial that randomly assigns people to different alcohol intakes could provide this proof of causality, but such a trial is impractical. In this study, therefore, the researchers have used “Mendelian randomization” to investigate whether alcohol intake affects blood pressure. An inactive variant of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2; the enzyme that removes alcohol from the body) has been identified. People who inherit the variant form of this gene from both parents have an ALDH2 *2*2 genotype (genetic makeup) and become flushed and nauseated after drinking. Consequently, they drink less than people with a *1*2 genotype and much less than those with a *1*1 genotype. Because inheritance of these genetic variants does not affect lifestyle factors other than alcohol intake, an association between ALDH2 genotypes and blood pressure would indicate that alcohol intake has an effect on blood pressure without any confounding.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified ten published studies (mainly done in Japan where the ALDH2 gene variant is common) on associations between ALDH2 genotype and blood pressure or hypertension using a detailed search protocol (a “systematic review”). A meta-analysis (a statistical method for combining the results of independent studies) of the studies that had investigated the association between ALDH2 genotype and hypertension showed that men with the *1*1 genotype (highest alcohol intake) and those with the *1*2 genotype (intermediate alcohol intake) were 2.42 and 1.72 times more likely, respectively, to have hypertension than those with the *2*2 genotype (lowest alcohol intake). There was no association between ALDH2 genotype and hypertension among the women in these studies because they drank very little. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures showed a similar relationship to ALDH2 genotype in a second meta-analysis of relevant studies. Finally, the researchers estimated that for men the lifetime effect of drinking 1 g of alcohol a day (one unit of alcohol contains 8 g of alcohol in the UK and 14 g in the US; recommended daily limits in these countries are 3–4 and 1–2 units, respectively) would be an increase in systolic blood pressure of 0.24 mmHg.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings support the suggestion that alcohol has a marked effect on blood pressure and hypertension. Consequently, some cases of hypertension could be prevented by encouraging people to reduce their daily alcohol intake. Although the Mendelian randomization approach avoids most of the confounding intrinsic to observational studies, it is possible that a gene near ALDH2 that has no effect on alcohol intake affects blood pressure, since genes are often inherited in blocks. Alternatively, ALDH2 could affect blood pressure independent of alcohol intake. The possibility that ALDH2 could effect blood pressure independently of alcohol is intake made unlikely by the fact that no effect of genotype on blood pressure is seen among women who drink very little. Additional large-scale studies are needed to address these possibilities, to confirm the current finding in more people, and to improve the estimates of the effect that alcohol intake has on blood pressure.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has a page on hypertension (in English and Spanish)
The American Heart Association provides information for patients and health professionals about hypertension
The UK Blood Pressure Association provides information for patients and health professionals on all aspects of hypertension, including information about alcohol affects blood pressure
The Explore@Bristol science center (a UK charity) provides an alcohol unit calculator and information on the effects of alcohol
The International Center for Alcohol Policies provides drinking guidelines for countries around the world
PMCID: PMC2265305  PMID: 18318597
20.  Ocular Hypertension: General Characteristics and Estimated Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure. The Beijing Eye Study 2011 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e100533.
To examine characteristics of ocular hypertensive subjects and potential associations with estimated cerebrospinal fluid pressure (estCSFP).
The population-based Beijing Eye Study 2011 included 3468 individuals with a mean age of 64.6±9.8 years. Ocular hypertension was defined as intraocular pressure (IOP) >21 mmHg, normal optic nerve head appearance and normal retinal nerve fiber layer thickness. IOP was corrected for its dependence on central corneal thickness (CCT) and corneal curvature radius. Estimated CSFP was calculated as CSFP [mmHg] = 0.44×Body Mass Index [kg/m2]+0.16×Diastolic Blood Pressure [mmHg]−0.18×Age [Years]−1.91. Estimated trans-lamina cribrosa pressure difference (estTLCPD) was IOP–estCSFP.
EstCSFP (10.5±3.6 mmHg versus 9.0±3.7 mmHg; P = 0.003) and estTLCPD (12.0±4.4 mmHg versus 5.4±3.8 mmHg; P<0.001) were higher in the ocular hypertensive group than in the normotensive group. In binary regression analysis, ocular hypertension was associated with increased estCSFP (P = 0.03; odds ratio (OR): 1.08; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01, 1.17) after adjusting for prevalence of arterial hypertension (P = 0.07; OR: 1.79; 95%CI: 0.96, 3.34), retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (P = 0.03; OR: 0.97; 95%CI: 0.95, 0.997) and blood glucose concentration (P = 0.006; OR: 1.17; 95%CI: 1.04, 1.30).
Ocular hypertensive subjects (with IOP correction for CCT and corneal curvature) as compared to ocular normotensive subjects had a significantly higher estCSFP in univariate analysis and in multivariate analysis. Despite of a higher estCSFP, estTLCPD was still markedly higher in ocular hypertensive eyes than in ocular normotensive eyes.
PMCID: PMC4079553  PMID: 24988292
21.  Survival with Treated and Well-Controlled Blood Pressure: Findings from a Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e17792.
To compare survival and incident cardiovascular disease between normotensive, untreated hypertensive, treated and poorly-controlled hypertensive and treated and well-controlled hypertensive adults.
Methods and Results
Data from the British Regional Heart Study (men) and British Women's Heart and Health Study (women) were used (N = 6476). Blood pressure and treatment were assessed at baseline (1998–2001) when participants were aged 60–79 years and participants were followed up for a median of 8 years. Date and cause of death were obtained from death certificates and non-fatal cardiovascular disease events were obtained from repeat detailed medical record reviews. Of the whole cohort 52% of women and 49% of men had untreated hypertension and a further 22% and 18%, respectively, had poorly treated hypertension. Just 3% of women and 4% of men had treated and well controlled hypertension and 23% and 29%, respectively, were normotensive. Compared to normotensive individuals, incident cardiovascular disease (fatal and non-fatal) was increased in those with poorly-controlled hypertension (Hazard Ratio (HR): 1.88; 95%CI: 1.53, 2.30), those with untreated hypertension (HR 1.46; 95%CI 1.22, 1.75) and those who were well-controlled hypertension (HR 1.38; 95%CI 0.94, 2.03). Adjustment for baseline differences in mean blood pressure between the groups resulted in attenuation of the increased risk in the poorly-controlled (1.52 (1.18, 1.97) and untreated groups (1.21 (0.97, 1.52), but did not change the association in the well-controlled group. All-cause mortality was also increased in all three hypertension groups but estimates were imprecise with wide confidence intervals.
Half of women and men aged 60–79 in Britain had untreated hypertension and only a very small proportion of those with diagnosed and treated hypertension were well controlled. Those with hypertension, irrespective of whether this was treated and controlled or not, were at greater risk of future cardiovascular disease than those who are normotensive.
PMCID: PMC3076376  PMID: 21533232
22.  Control of vascular tone in isolated mesenteric arterial segments from hypertensive patients 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1999;127(7):1735-1743.
Experimental hypertension is associated with several functional alterations of vascular endothelium and smooth muscle, but relatively few studies have examined the control of arterial tone in isolated vascular preparations from patients with essential hypertension. Therefore, we compared functional characteristics in vitro of distal ring segments of the mesenteric artery from 17 hypertensive and 22 normotensive humans.Arterial constrictor responses induced by cumulative addition of Ca2+ in the presence of noradrenaline (NA) were more effectively inhibited by the Ca2+ entry blocker nifedipine (0.5 nM) in hypertensive than normotensive subjects (by 55.4±4.9, n=17 and 35.0±5.2%, n=22, respectively). Also the contractions elicited by high concentrations of KCl were more effectively inhibited by nifedipine in arterial rings from hypertensive than normotensive patients (by 38.9±3.7, n=17 and 20.2±4.6%, n=22, respectively). However, the concentration-response curves of contractions to NA, serotonin and KCl in the absence of nifedipine were similar between the study groups.The concentration-response curves of endothelium-dependent relaxations to acetylcholine and Ca2+ ionophore A23187, as well as of endothelium-independent relaxations to the nitric oxide donor nitroprusside, β-adrenoceptor agonist isoprenaline and K+ channel opener cromakalim did not show any differences between the groups. Moreover, the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (0.1 mM) almost abolished the relaxations to acetylcholine and Ca2+ ionophore in both groups, indicating that these responses were largely mediated by nitric oxide. The function of arterial sodium pump was evaluated by relaxations elicited by the return of K+ upon contractions induced by K+-free solution. The rate of K+-relaxation was similar in hypertensive and normotensive arteries (for all these responses n=20–22 in the normotensive and 15–17 in the hypertensive group).These results suggest abnormal function of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels in arterial smooth muscle of hypertensive patients, whereas vascular responses to endothelium-dependent and -independent vasodilators and classical contractile agents were similar between hypertensive and normotensive subjects. The present findings support the view that blockade of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels is an effective means of reducing arterial tone in essential hypertension.
PMCID: PMC1566159  PMID: 10455333
Arterial smooth muscle; endothelium; essential hypertension; nifedipine; nitric oxide
23.  Serum Calcium Level in Hypertension 
The alterations in extracellular calcium level may influence intracellular calcium level and possibly play a role in the pathogenesis of essential hypertension.
The purpose was to find out the association between serum calcium levels and hypertension; and to compare the serum calcium levels between normotensive controls, hypertensive subjects on calcium channel blockers, and hypertensive subjects on antihypertensive medication other than calcium channel blockers.
Materials and Methods:
Thirty one individuals including normotensives (n = 12) and hypertensives (n = 19) were enrolled for the study and their blood pressure recorded. Hypertensive group was sub divided into two: hypertensives on calcium channel blockers and hypertensives on antihypertensive medication other than calcium channel blockers. Serum calcium levels were measured by Accucare Calcium Arsenazo III kit. Differences between the groups were analyzed using ANOVA.
No significant difference in serum calcium level was found between normotensive and hypertensive groups; and no correlation was found between calcium levels and the blood pressure. Also the difference in serum calcium levels in hypertensive group on calcium channel blockers and those on antihypertensive other than calcium channel blockers was insignificant.
Serum calcium levels are tightly regulated. Subtle changes in serum levels do not affect blood pressure.
PMCID: PMC3503375  PMID: 23181228
Antihypertensive medication; Calcium channel blocker; Hypertension; Normotension; Serum calcium
24.  Study of urban community survey in India: growing trend of high prevalence of hypertension in a developing country 
The prevalence pattern of hypertension in developing countries is different from that in the developed countries. In India, a very large, populous and typical developing country, community surveys have documented that between three and six decades, prevalence of hypertension has increased by about 30 times among urban dwellers and by about 10 times among the rural inhabitants. Various factors might have contributed to this rising trend and among others, consequences of urbanization such as change in life style pattern, diet and stress, increased population and shrinking employment have been implicated. In this paper, we study the prevalence of hypertension in an urban community of India using the JNC VII criteria, with the aim of identifying the risk factors and suggesting intervention strategies. A total of 1609 respondents out of 1662 individuals participated in our cross-sectional survey of validated and structured questionnaire followed by blood pressure measurement. Results showed pre-hypertensive levels of blood pressures among 35.8% of the participants in systolic group (120-139mm of Hg) and 47.7% in diastolic group (80-89 mm of Hg). Systolic hypertension (140 mm of Hg) was present in 40.9% and diastolic hypertension (90 mm of Hg) in 29.3% of the participants. Age and sex-specific prevalence of hypertension showed progressive rise of systolic and diastolic hypertension in women when compared to men. Men showed progressive rise in systolic hypertension beyond fifth decade of life. Bivariate analysis showed significant relationship of hypertension with age, sedentary occupation, body mass index (BMI), diet, ischemic heart disease, and smoking. Multivariate analysis revealed age and BMI as risk factors, and non-vegetarian diet as protective factor with respect to hypertension. Prevalence of prehypertensives was high among younger subjects - particularly students and laborers who need special attention. Role of non-vegetarian diet as a protective factor might have been related to fish-eating behavior of the sample population, who also use mustard oil as cooking medium - both of which have significant level of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. The observed prevalence of hypertension in this study and other studies suggest the need for a comprehensive national policy to control hypertension in India, and, in other similar developing countries.
PMCID: PMC1145137  PMID: 15968343
Hypertension; eastern India; urban study; JNC-VII criteria; prehypertensives; non-vegetarian diet; developing countries
25.  Inheritance of abnormal erythrocyte cation transport in essential hypertension. 
Net fluxes of sodium and potassium ions were determined in sodium-loaded, potassium-depleted erythrocytes from 370 white subjects, 194 of whom had essential hypertension or had been born to parents with essential hypertension. Findings were compared with those in 86 controls who were normotensive and did not have a family history of hypertension. Compared with controls all patients with essential hypertension had a low sodium to potassium ratio secondary to a deficit in the sodium-potassium cotransport system. A similar abnormality was found in subjects born to parents with essential hypertension, the prevalences of a deficient cotransport system in such subjects being 53.6% (52 out of 97) among those with one hypertensive parent and 73.7% (14 out of 19) among those with two hypertensive parents. Both sexes were equally affected. Studies in 14 families over two or three generations showed the erythrocyte cation abnormality in one or more members of each consecutive generation. No close association was evident between the deficient erythrocyte sodium-potassium cotransport system and either blood groups ABO, Rh, Kidd, Duffy, P, and MNS or the major histocompatibility HLA antigens. Out of 90 consecutive unrelated and normotensive white blood donors, 36 showed a low erythrocyte sodium-potassium net flux ratio. It is concluded that in white people abnormal erythrocyte cation transport is a biochemical disorder characteristic of essential hypertension and transmitted by a dominant and autosomal mode expressing a single abnormal gene.
PMCID: PMC1505030  PMID: 6786458

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