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Prevalence of hypertension-attributed symptoms in routine clinical practice: a general practitioners-based study


The objective of the present study was to determine the prevalence of symptoms generally attributed to hypertension and the relationship between symptoms and blood pressure categories. Routine office blood pressure measurement in the morning was obtained and morning symptoms were reported using a standardized questionnaire in a multicenter study from general practitioners in Germany. Dizziness and headaches were significantly (P<0.001) more prevalent in 2154 untreated hypertensives (19.6 and 17.0%) as compared with 1399 normotensives (13.6 and 7.4%), whereas tiredness was less in hypertensives (12.0 vs 17.0%, P<0.01). In untreated and in 52 469 treated hypertensives, the overall prevalence of symptoms increased constantly with blood pressure levels from 26.1% in untreated male patients with mild hypertension to 54.3% of female patients with severe treated hypertension, with a higher prevalence in women (+7% vs men) and in patients with concomitant diseases (+13% vs patients without concomitant diseases). The prevalence of symptoms in older patients with untreated isolated systolic hypertension was not different from younger normotensives. There was a tight positive correlation between systolic and diastolic blood pressure and dizziness (R=0.73 and 0.76) as well as headaches (R=0.83 and 0.90) for all blood pressure levels in all patient groups. Typical hypertension-attributed symptoms like dizziness and headaches are more prevalent in hypertensives and they are closely related to blood pressure levels in untreated and treated hypertensives. Morning symptoms in hypertensives may suggest that there is inadequate control of blood pressure. More attention should be paid to perceived symptoms in hypertensives.

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Parts of these data were presented at the 21st Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Hypertension, 2006, Fukuoka, Japan (ref. 24). This work was supported by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma, Germany.

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Correspondence to M Middeke.

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Middeke, M., Lemmer, B., Schaaf, B. et al. Prevalence of hypertension-attributed symptoms in routine clinical practice: a general practitioners-based study. J Hum Hypertens 22, 252–258 (2008).

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