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Vasc Med. 2011 Aug;16(4):239-46. doi: 10.1177/1358863X11413166. Epub 2011 Jul 5.

The relative importance of systolic versus diastolic blood pressure control and incident symptomatic peripheral artery disease in women.

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Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-9047, USA.


Prospective data regarding risk factors for peripheral artery disease (PAD) are sparse, especially among women; the relative contribution of systolic versus diastolic blood pressure control for incident PAD has not been well studied. We evaluated the association of self-reported blood pressure control with incident symptomatic PAD in middle-aged and older women. We examined the relationship between reported hypertension and incident confirmed symptomatic PAD (n = 178) in 39,260 female health professionals aged ≥ 45 years without known vascular disease at baseline. Median follow-up was 13.3 years. Women were grouped according to presence of reported isolated diastolic (IDH), isolated systolic (ISH), or combined systolic-diastolic hypertension (SDH) using cut-points of 90 and 140 mmHg for diastolic and systolic blood pressure, respectively. SBP and DBP were modeled as continuous and categorical exposures. Multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs), including adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors, were derived from Cox proportional hazards models. Adjusted HRs compared to women without reported hypertension were 1.0 (0.4-2.8) for IDH, 2.0 (1.3-3.1) for ISH, and 2.8 (1.8-4.5) for SDH. There was a 43% increased adjusted risk per 10 mmHg of reported SBP (95% CI 27-62%) and a gradient in risk according to SBP category (< 120, 120-139, 140-159, and ≥ 160 mmHg); HRs were 1.0, 2.3, 4.3, and 6.6 (p-trend < 0.001), respectively. Reported DBP, while individually predictive in models excluding SBP, was not predictive after adjustment for SBP. In conclusion, these prospective data suggest a strong prognostic role for uncontrolled blood pressure and, particularly, uncontrolled systolic blood pressure in the development of peripheral atherosclerosis in women.

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