Men with higher-income more likely to develop high Blood Pressure : ESC Study

According to a new study, men with higher incomes are more vulnerable to developing high blood pressure. The study was presented at the 84th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Japanese Circulation Society (JCS 2020) in conjunction with the Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology Congress 2020 (APSC 2020).

Study author Dr Shingo Yanagiya of the Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan said, “Men with higher incomes need to improve their lifestyles to prevent high blood pressure. Steps include eating healthily, exercising, and controlling weight. Alcohol should be kept to moderate levels and binge drinking avoided.”

Globally, more than one billion people suffer from high blood pressure. Around 30-45% of adults suffer from BP.  People aged over 60 years account for more than 60% of people affected. Premature death due to High BP accounted for almost 10 million deaths in 2015, comprising  4.9 million deaths due to ischaemic heart disease and 3.5 million due to stroke. In Japan alone, more than 10 million people suffer from high blood pressure(BP) and the number continues to grow.

Dr Yanagiya said, “High blood pressure is a lifestyle-related disease. As a physician seeing these patients I wanted to know if risk varies with socioeconomic class, to help us focus our prevention efforts.”

J-HOPE3 study analysed the relationship between household income and high blood pressure in a total of 4,314  Japanese employees consisting of 3,153 men and 1,161 women with daytime jobs and normal blood pressure taken in 2012 from 12 workplaces. They were divided into four groups according to their annual household income in following ranges: less than 5 million, 5 to 7.9 million, 8 to 9.9 million, and 10 million or more Japanese yen per year. Their two year period was studied and it was found that men in high income groups were more likely to develop high blood pressure(BP)  than the men in the lowest income category.

Men in the 5 to 7.9 million and 8 to 9.9 million categories were found to be about 50 per cent more vulnerable to developing high blood pressure than the men with the lowest incomes. But the positive association was found without any statistical significance in the 8 to 9.9 million group.

The findings were consistent irrespective of the age, baseline blood pressure, worksite, occupation, number of family members, and smoking of the people used in the study. The relationships were found to be slightly fragile when alcohol consumption and body mass index (BMI; kg/m2) were considered. These two were found higher in men with higher income.

There was no significant relationship found between income and blood pressure in the case of women. Though women with higher income were found to be less vulnerable to developing high blood pressure.

Dr Yanagiya said, “Some previous Japanese surveys have reported that higher household income is associated with more undesirable lifestyles in men, but not in women. Our study supports this: men, but not women, with higher household incomes were more likely to be obese and drink alcohol every day. Both behaviours are major risk factors for hypertension.”

He added, “Men with high-paying daytime jobs are at particular risk of high blood pressure. This applies to men of all ages, who can greatly decrease their chance of a heart attack or stroke by improving their health behaviours.”

Dr Yusuke Yoshikawa who is the public relations coordinator for JCS 2020 said, “Hypertension is one of the most important risk factors of cardiovascular disease in Japan, because the average daily salt intake in Japan (approx. 10 g/day) is much higher than desired. As the current guidelines strongly recommend healthy lifestyle to control high blood pressure, this study suggests a potential key to successful intervention for those who are at risk of heart disease and stroke.”

Professor Michel Komajda, former President of the ESC and course director of the ESC programme at JCS 2020, said: “The ESC is delighted to be part of JCS 2020 in Kyoto. We value our special partnership with JCS and the high quality of Japanese research. Japan is among the top submitters of abstracts to ESC Congress.”


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