With the increasing prevalence of hypertension, there has been a growing interest in understanding the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of patients with hypertension. Although hypertension is often perceived as asymptomatic, it is associated with impaired HRQOL because of complications or comorbidities, awareness of the diagnosis, and adverse effects from antihypertensive medications. This article focuses on the literature published since 2000, on HRQOL in elderly hypertensive individuals as well as hypertensives with co-existent diseases, including chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes mellitus. Most of the studies found that hypertensive individuals with co-existent co-morbidities tend to have lower HRQOL than those with hypertension alone, and identified the number of co-morbid illnesses as an independent determinant of HRQOL. The most pronounced effect was noted in the physical function domains of HRQOL. Studies have also examined the effects on HRQOL of specific classes of antihypertensive drugs without specific demonstration of superiority of one drug class over another in terms of HRQOL measures. Although there is evidence in favor of angiotensin-converting enzyme-inhibition for improving renal and cardiovascular outcomes in hypertensive patients, its role in ameliorating HRQOL outcomes remains to be established.
2010 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.