To compare the association between antihypertensive drug treatment and heart failure (HF) risk with the association between engaging in a healthy lifestyle and HF risk.
We prospectively investigated the single and joint associations of lifestyle factors and awareness, treatment, blood pressure control status with HF risk among 38 075 Finns, who were 25–74 years old and free of HF at baseline.
During a median follow-up of 14.1 years, 638 men and 445 women developed HF. Engaging in a healthy lifestyle was associated with an decreased risk of HF. Compared with normotensive people, hypertensive patients with and without antihypertensive treatment had a higher risk of HF. Hypertensive patients who used antihypertensive drugs but did not engage in a healthy lifestyle had a significantly higher risk of HF [HR 1.75; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.39–2.21] than hypertensive patients who did not use antihypertensive drugs but engaged in a healthy lifestyle. In addition, compared with hypertensive patients who used antihypertensive drugs and engaged in a healthy lifestyle, hypertensive patients who did not use antihypertensive drug or engage in a healthy lifestyle had a significantly higher risk of HF (HR 1.55; 95% CI 1.24–1.95).
The present study demonstrates that HF risk was lower in hypertensive patients who engaged in a healthy lifestyle but higher in hypertensive people using antihypertensive drug treatment.