Hypertension and risk of death from external causes in the Physicians' Health Study enrollment cohort

Int J Public Health. 2011 Apr;56(2):231-5. doi: 10.1007/s00038-010-0183-y. Epub 2010 Sep 11.


Objectives: To address the recent hypothesis that hypertension increases the risk of death from external causes.

Methods: We examined blood pressure and death from external causes among 82,037 male physicians who were screened for eligibility to enroll in the Physicians' Health Study.

Results: During up to 6.6 years of mortality follow-up, there were 304 deaths from external causes. No association was found overall, although we observed an increased risk of non-passive external causes of death, particularly death due to falls, which was independent of various lifestyle, medical, and pharmacological risk factors.

Conclusions: The results of our study support this novel hypothesis. Further studies are needed to explore potential causal mechanisms between elevated BP and the risk of external death.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cause of Death*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Death
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / mortality*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians*
  • Risk