Despite recent increasing trends in cardiovascular morbidities and mortality in Asia, studies on short-term changes in cardiovascular risks remain limited. This study estimated 2-year incidence rates of hypertension in middle-aged Korean adults aged 40–69 years, and investigated the impact of baseline levels of blood pressure, body mass index, and other conventional risk factors on the progression to hypertension.
Blood pressures of participants were evaluated twice with a 2-year interval, measured by mercury sphygmomanometer according to the standardized protocol. Hypertension was defined when either the systolic and diastolic blood pressures were greater than 140 and 90 mmHg, respectively, or when a participant was treated with antihypertensive medications.
The crude 2-year incidence (calculated per 100) of hypertension was 12.2; 13.0 for men and 11.6 for women. For those who had higher blood pressure at baseline examination, incidence rates were two-fold or five-fold higher compared with those with optimal blood pressure. Older age and overweight were also major predictors for hypertension, even in Koreans with a low serum cholesterol level.
This is the first investigation of short-term incidence rates of hypertension in Asia. The results are consistent with the recently reported increasing trends in cardiovascular mortality and morbidity in Asia.