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26-05-2013 | Hypertension | Article

Exercise crucial in hypertension management


Free abstract

medwireNews: Promoting physical activity may boost life expectancy in patients with hypertension, a study suggests.

Researchers found physical activity to be associated with a "dramatically" reduced all-cause mortality risk, irrespective of whether patients were receiving antihypertensive treatment and whether they had achieved blood pressure (BP) control.

"Accordingly, physical activity may be a very important aspect of managing hypertension," write study author Jennifer Kuk (York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and colleagues in the American Journal of Hypertension.

The researchers base their conclusions on an analysis of data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Of 10,665 people with complete data, 2832 (25.8%) died during an average 8.6 years of follow up.

After accounting for confounders, being physically active rather than inactive was associated with a 29% reduction in mortality risk, and having controlled versus uncontrolled BP conferred a 16% risk reduction.

Among people with hypertension, the risk for mortality in those who were physically active was not significantly different according to whether they had treated, controlled BP; treated uncontrolled BP; or untreated, uncontrolled BP. Mortality risk in these groups was also not significantly different from that of physically inactive people without hypertension. Conversely, hypertensive people who were inactive had a significantly increased mortality risk, regardless of whether their BP was controlled, relative to people with controlled hypertension who were active.

"Therefore, physical activity may be critical for reducing premature mortality in adults with hypertension, especially for those in whom pharmacologic treatment does not produce BP control," comment the researchers. "This is striking considering that our definition of physical activity was participating in one or more periods of moderate or vigorous physical activity per week."

However, the mortality risk among physically active people was significantly lower in those with normotension than in those with treated, controlled hypertension, leading Kuk et al to comment that "it is imperative that efforts be made to prevent the development of hypertension."

The benefits of physical activity also extended to people with normotension, being associated with a 28% reduction in mortality risk.

"Altogether, these results demonstrate that physical activity and controlled BP are important independent factors for the prevention of premature mortality," says the team.

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Eleanor McDermid, Senior medwireNews Reporter

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