Blood pressure : trends, determinants and consequences

E.M. van Leer

Research output: Thesisexternal PhD, WU


<p>Trends in blood pressure, prevalence and treatment of hypertension were studied in 30,000 men and women aged 37-43 years during the period 1974-1980, in 80,000 men aged 33-37 years during the period 1981-1986 and 36,000 in men and women aged 20-59 years during the period 1987-1991. Between 1974 and 1991 changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were minor with the exception of an increase in the prevalence of hypertension in men between 1974-1980. Between 1981 and 1991 the prevalence of hypertension remained stable in men and in women between 1987 and 1991. More women than men were treated for hypertension; this did not change between 1974 and 1991. An increase in the percentage of treated hypertensive men between 1974 and 1986 was followed by a decrease in the period between 1987 and 1991 when a decrease in the treatment of hypertension in women was also seen.<p>In a cross-sectional analysis in about 30,000 men and women aged 20-59 years a linear relation between alcohol consumption and blood pressure was observed in men. The results in women suggest a threshold of two glasses per day. In this study it was observed that gender, age and smoking were important effect modifiers of the alcohol-blood pressure association. An inverse association was observed between blood pressure and the intake of potassium and magnesium in both men and women. Dietary calcium was inversely related to systolic blood pressure in women and to systolic and diastolic blood pressure in both men and women. Men and women consuming a diet high in potassium, magnesium and calcium had about 2 mmHg lower blood pressure than their counterparts consuming a diet low in these minerals.<p>In a 12-year follow-up study in 50,000 men and women aged 30-54 at baseline, elevated blood pressure was strongly related to cardiovascular and total mortality in both sexes. However, in men the mortality rates and relative risks were higher than in women. It was estimated that a reduction of 6 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure results in a 41% reduction in cardiovascular mortality and 28% reduction in total mortality for men and 29% and 12%, respectively, for women. Evidence from observational studies and intervention trials suggest that such a reduction may be achieved through preventive measures such as weight control, alcohol and salt restriction, and increased potassium intake.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Kromhout, D., Promotor
  • Seidell, J.C., Promotor, External person
Award date14 Jun 1995
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789054853633
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • blood pressure
  • netherlands


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