Lifestyle, family history and progression of hypertension

Mikolaj Winnicki, Virend K. Somers, Francesca Dorigatti, Daniele Longo, Massimo Santonastaso, Lucio Mos, Mauro Mattarei, Achille C. Pessina, Paolo Palatini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Unhealthy lifestyle practices are risk factors for future hypertension. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between lifestyle changes over a 6-year period and the risk of developing sustained hypertension in a cohort of young hypertensive individuals, and to identify the predictors of lifestyle impairment over time. METHODS: Seven-hundred and eighty never-treated hypertensive HARVEST participants, 18-45 years old, were studied. RESULTS: Only modest mean behavioral changes were observed during follow-up. This, however, was the net result of many participants improving and others worsening their lifestyle. Participants with a family history of hypertension (FH+, n = 459) had more undesirable lifestyles (P = 0.004) and higher clinic and ambulatory blood pressures (P = 0.03) at baseline than participants without a family history of hypertension (FH-). During the 6-year follow-up, FH- individuals strikingly worsened their lifestyle while FH+ participants exhibited impressive improvements (P < 0.00001). Other predictors of lifestyle impairment were male gender (P = 0.003) and age (P = 0.02). Adoption of an unfavorable lifestyle was accompanied by an increased risk of developing sustained hypertension (P = 0.04). Initiation of drug therapy for hypertension was significantly higher among FH- than FH+ individuals (53 versus 45%, respectively; P = 0.045). CONCLUSIONS: 'Lower risk' FH- stage 1 hypertensive individuals may initially be at higher risk of developing more severe hypertension in comparison with their FH+ counterparts. This increased risk may be attributed to worsening of their lifestyle profiles over time. Healthy lifestyles should be emphasized to all hypertensive individuals including patients with favorable lifestyle profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1479-1487
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of hypertension
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Familiarity
  • Hypertension
  • Lifestyle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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