Objective: To evaluate the frequency of microalbuminuria and its relationship with several risk factors and left ventricular mass in a population of mildly hypertensive subjects attended in a primary-care setting.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: Eight primary-care centres.
Patients: Two hundred and twenty-three non-diabetic patients recently diagnosed with mild hypertension were included in the study. None of them had clinical evidence of target-organ damage or had received prior antihypertensive treatment.
Interventions: Subjects included in the study underwent clinical interview, measurement of blood pressure (BP) on three visits, blood analysis, measurement of albumin by immunonephelometry in three overnight urine collections, 24 h BP monitoring and M-mode and Doppler echocardiography.
Main outcome measures: Tobacco habit, clinic BP, body mass index, serum lipids and uric acid, glycaemia, urinary albumin excretion (UAE), ambulatory BP and left ventricular mass index.
Results: The frequency of microalbuminuria was 7.2%. Microalbuminuric patients were more likely to be men and to be characterized by higher ambulatory BP, body mass index and uric acid levels. Regression analysis demonstrated that male sex and 24 h systolic BP were determinants of UAE. Patients with white-coat hypertension showed lower UAE than did subjects with sustained hypertension. Although a certain relationship between UAE and left ventricular mass index was found, these variables were not significantly correlated.
Conclusions: A low proportion of mildly hypertensive patients attended in a primary care setting are microalbuminuric. In this population, UAE is an expression of BP values over 24 h and correlates with several risk factors.