An association between impaired lower respiratory function and cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension, is often reported but it is unknown whether there is a relationship between upper airway disorders and cardiovascular risk factors, despite evidence that upper and lower respiratory tract disorders are closely linked. Our objective was to assess whether rhinitis is associated with arterial blood pressure and hypertension. In a population-based study of 330 adults aged 28-56 years, as part of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey, rhinitis was assessed by means of a questionnaire, and cardiovascular data were obtained using a questionnaire and by measuring blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) was higher in men with rhinitis than in men without rhinitis (130.6 +/- 12.7 mm Hg versus 123.5 +/- 13.9 mm Hg; p = 0.002), and it was still the case after adjustment for cardiovascular and respiratory confounding factors. Hypertension was more frequent in men with rhinitis than in men without rhinitis, even after multivariate adjustment (odds ratio = 2.6, 95% confidence interval = [1.14-5.91]). The observation of SBP levels according to whether men have no rhinitis, seasonal rhinitis, or perennial rhinitis was compatible with a dose-response relationship (p for trend = 0.02). In conclusion, rhinitis is strongly associated with SBP and hypertension in men. Blood pressure should be regularly checked in men with rhinitis.