The aim of this study was to describe the relationship between hypertension and health-related quality of life (HRQL) in a Swedish general population using the 36-item short form questionnaire (SF-36). The study is based on a postal questionnaire that was sent to a random sample of 8000 inhabitants aged 20-84 years (response rate 68%) in Uppsala County, Sweden, in 1995. The results showed that those with hypertension scored lower in the linear regression analyses in most of the eight domains of the SF-36 than those without hypertension after controlling for age, sex, sociodemographic factors, and comorbidity. Diabetes and angina pectoris were related to lower scores in most of the domains of the SF-36. Previous myocardial infarction was associated with lower general health and vitality. Those with a previous stroke had lower scores in physical functioning, general health, vitality, and social functioning. The findings suggest that hypertensives represent a vulnerable population that merits special attention from health care providers and systems. This is especially important given that low HRQL can be a risk factor for subsequent cardiovascular events or complications.