Are symptoms of anxiety and depression risk factors for hypertension? Longitudinal evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study

Arch Fam Med. Jan-Feb 1997;6(1):43-9. doi: 10.1001/archfami.6.1.43.

Abstract

Objective: To test the hypothesis that symptoms of anxiety and depression increase the risk of experiencing hypertension, using the National Health and Nutrition Examination I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study.

Design: A cohort of men and women without evidence of hypertension at baseline were followed up for 7 to 16 years. The association between 2 outcome measures (hypertension and treated hypertension) and baseline anxiety and depression was analyzed using Cox proportional hazards regression adjusting for hypertension risk factors (age; sex; education; cigarette smoking; body mass index; alcohol use; history of diabetes, stroke, or coronary heart disease; and baseline systolic blood pressure). Analyses were stratified by race and age (white persons aged 25-44 years and 45-64 years and black persons aged 25-64 years).

Setting: General community.

Participants: A population-based sample of 2992 initially normotensive persons.

Main outcome measures: Incident hypertension was defined as blood pressure of 160/95 mm Hg or more, or prescription of antihypertensive medications. Treated hypertension was defined as prescription of antihypertensive medications.

Results: In the multivariate models for whites aged 45 to 64 years, high anxiety (relative risk [RR], 1.82; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.30-2.53) and high depression (RR, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.16-2.78) remained independent predictors of incident hypertension. The risks associated with treated hypertension were also increased for high anxiety (RR, 2.36; 95% CI, 1.73-3.23) and high depression (RR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.25-2.85). For blacks aged 25 to 64 years, high anxiety (RR, 2.74; 95% CI, 1.35-5.53) and high depression (RR, 2.99; 95% CI, 1.41-6.33) remained independent predictors of incident hypertension. The risks associated with treated hypertension were also increased for high anxiety (RR, 3.24; 95% CI, 1.59-6.61) and high depression (RR, 2.92; 95% CI, 1.37-6.22). For whites aged 25 to 44 years, intermediate anxiety (RR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.18-2.22) and intermediate depression (RR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.17-2.17) remained independent predictors of treated hypertension only.

Conclusion: Anxiety and depression are predictive of later incidence of hypertension and prescription treatment for hypertension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety / complications*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Depression / complications*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Hypertension / psychology*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications

Substances

  • Antihypertensive Agents