Aim: To compare survival and incident cardiovascular disease between normotensive, untreated hypertensive, treated and poorly-controlled hypertensive and treated and well-controlled hypertensive adults.
Methods and results: Data from the British Regional Heart Study (men) and British Women's Heart and Health Study (women) were used (N = 6476). Blood pressure and treatment were assessed at baseline (1998-2001) when participants were aged 60-79 years and participants were followed up for a median of 8 years. Date and cause of death were obtained from death certificates and non-fatal cardiovascular disease events were obtained from repeat detailed medical record reviews. Of the whole cohort 52% of women and 49% of men had untreated hypertension and a further 22% and 18%, respectively, had poorly treated hypertension. Just 3% of women and 4% of men had treated and well controlled hypertension and 23% and 29%, respectively, were normotensive. Compared to normotensive individuals, incident cardiovascular disease (fatal and non-fatal) was increased in those with poorly-controlled hypertension (Hazard Ratio (HR): 1.88; 95%CI: 1.53, 2.30), those with untreated hypertension (HR 1.46; 95%CI 1.22, 1.75) and those who were well-controlled hypertension (HR 1.38; 95%CI 0.94, 2.03). Adjustment for baseline differences in mean blood pressure between the groups resulted in attenuation of the increased risk in the poorly-controlled (1.52 (1.18, 1.97) and untreated groups (1.21 (0.97, 1.52), but did not change the association in the well-controlled group. All-cause mortality was also increased in all three hypertension groups but estimates were imprecise with wide confidence intervals.
Conclusions: Half of women and men aged 60-79 in Britain had untreated hypertension and only a very small proportion of those with diagnosed and treated hypertension were well controlled. Those with hypertension, irrespective of whether this was treated and controlled or not, were at greater risk of future cardiovascular disease than those who are normotensive.