High Blood Pressure Runs in Families

Men Whose Parents Have Hypertension Are Likely to Develop the Condition Themselves, Study Shows

Medically Reviewed by Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC on March 24, 2008
From the WebMD Archives

March 24, 2008 -- Guys, listen up. When it comes to high blood pressure, the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree.

That's according to new study results that show if your parents have high blood pressure, you are likely to have it as well.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University tracked 1,160 men, first interviewed when they were medical students. The men were surveyed every year until they were in their 90s.

"Men with both parents with hypertension or men with one parent who was hypertensive before the age of 55 years had a much higher risk of developing hypertension, especially at a younger age," according to the study authors in a news release.

Early Onset Carries Bigger Risk

Here are some of the findings:

  • Men whose parents had hypertension were four times more likely to develop it themselves by age 40 compared with men whose parents did not have high blood pressure.
  • Men whose parents developed high blood pressure at age 55 or younger were seven times more likely to develop hypertension themselves throughout their adult life compared with those without a parent with high blood pressure.
  • Men with both parents who had early-onset high blood pressure were 20 times more likely to develop it themselves by the time they turned 35, compared with men whose parents had normal blood pressure.

Researchers factored in the participants' physical activity. They also looked at how much alcohol and coffee the men drank and whether they smoked cigarettes.

According to the study's authors, the findings show that it's important for doctors to check with patients, especially younger ones, about whether their parents have high blood pressure.

In the news release, the authors add that the findings also "underscore the importance of primary prevention and blood pressure monitoring early in life in men with parental hypertension, especially those who have a parent with early onset hypertension."

The study appears in the March 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Show Sources


Archives of Internal Medicine, March 24, 2008; vol 168.

News release, JAMA/Archives.

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