Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Screen detected high blood pressure under 40: a general practice population followed up for 21 years.

British Medical Journal 1993; 306 doi: (Published 13 February 1993) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1993;306:437
  1. J T Hart,
  2. C Edwards,
  3. M Hart,
  4. J Jones,
  5. M Jones,
  6. A Haines,
  7. G Watt
  1. Epidemiology and Medical Care Unit, Northwick Park and Glyncorrwg Health Centre, West Glamorgan.


    OBJECTIVE--To assess hypertension detected under 40 in a general practice population. DESIGN--Prospective case-control study. SETTING AND SUBJECTS--Former coal mining community in south Wales. Systematic case finding for hypertension and associated risk factors applied to a mean total population of 1945 from age 20 on a five year cycle through 21 years. Mean population aged 20-39, 227 men and 213 women. Case criteria: age < 40 and mean systolic pressure > or = 160 mm Hg or diastolic pressure > or = 100 mm Hg. Age and sex matched controls randomly sampled from the same population. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Mean initial pressures and pressures at follow up in 1989 or preceding death, and all cardiovascular events. RESULTS--25 men and 16 women met criteria. Estimated five yearly inceptions were 26/1000 for men and 18/1000 for women. Male group mean initial blood pressure was 164/110 mm Hg for cases, falling to 148/89 mm Hg at follow up. Five male cases died at mean age 47.8, compared with two controls at 49.5. Female group mean initial pressure was 172/107 mm Hg for cases, falling to 145/86 mm Hg at follow up. One female case died aged 50, no controls. 10 male cases had non-fatal cardiovascular events at mean age 40.2, compared with two controls at mean age 50.5. Four female cases had non-fatal events at mean age 47.2, compared with one control aged 58. Male differences were statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS--Hypertension under 40 is dangerous, commoner in men than women, rarely secondary to classic causes, and may be controlled in general practice on a whole community basis.