Gender differences in BP control revealed
By Joanna Lyford
28 November 2008
Am J Med 2008: 121: 1078–1084

MedWire News: Women have better ambulatory blood pressure (BP) control than men, possibly due to the higher frequency of isolated office hypertension in women, Spanish researchers believe.

Their conclusion comes from a study of nearly 30,000 men and women with treated hypertension who were enrolled in the Spanish Ambulatory Blood Pressure Registry.

José Banegas (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain) and colleagues analyzed office and ambulatory BP data on each participant with the aim of exploring gender differences in hypertension control.

Both office and ambulatory BPs were controlled to below 130/80 mmHg in 16.4% of women and 14.7% of men, a significant difference (p<0.001), Banegas and co-authors report in the American Journal of Medicine.

A similar proportion of men and women had well-controlled office BP, regardless of ambulatory values (22.6% vs 22.3%).

Masked hypertension (ie, office BP <140/90 mmHg and ambulatory BP≥130/80 mmHg) was significantly less common in women than in men (5.9% vs 7.9%, p<0001).

Conversely, isolated office hypertension (ie, office BP ≥140/90 mmHg and ambulatory BP <130/80 mmHg) was more common in women than in men (32.5% vs 24.2%, p<0.001).

Interestingly, gender differences in BP control were not explained by differences in age, number of antihypertensive drugs, hypertension duration, and risk factors.

The authors say that other factors could be involved, such as a greater therapeutic adherence, a biological effect of antihypertensive drugs, and a higher use of health services in women.

“Ambulatory hypertension control was more frequent in women than in men. This finding may be due to the higher frequency of isolated office hypertension in women,” write Banegas and colleagues.

“Clinic BP control should be pursued more aggressively in men than in women, because in the former a proportionally higher ambulatory (or out-of-office) BP level is expected.”

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