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Association between hypertension and musculoskeletal complaints: a population-based study

Kerkhoff, Alessandra Cristina; Moreira, Leila Beltrami; Fuchs, Flávio Danni; Fuchs, Sandra Costa

doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e3283588268

Objective: To investigate the association between hypertension and musculoskeletal complaints among men and women selected by a population-based sample.

Methods: A cross-sectional study, with participants selected using a multistage sampling procedure and interviewed at home, was conducted to investigate the association between hypertension and musculoskeletal complaints. Hypertension was defined by the average of four measurements of blood pressure (BP) at least 140/90 mmHg or use of BP-lowering drugs. Musculoskeletal complaints in the 3 months before the interview were investigated by a structured questionnaire.

Results: Among 1858 participants, 58% were women, 64% were 18–49 years old, and 45% had up to 8 years of education. The prevalence of musculoskeletal complaint was 33% [95% confidence interval (CI) 30–36] and of hypertension was 34% (95% CI 32–37). Men and women with hypertension had higher prevalence of musculoskeletal complaint, which was no longer significant in women after adjustment for age, educational level, skin color, BMI, physical inactivity, diabetes mellitus, alcohol consumption, smoking and history of cardiovascular disease. Hypertensive men with uncontrolled hypertension using BP agents had higher prevalence of musculoskeletal complaint (adjusted risk ratio = 1.78; 95% CI 1.11–2.86).

Conclusions: Chronic musculoskeletal complaints are more frequent in men with uncontrolled hypertension under drug treatment. The absence of association in women and in hypertensive men not taking BP drugs suggest that hypertension is not a risk or protection against musculoskeletal complaints.

aPostgraduate Studies Program in Cardiology, Universidade Federal do Rio, Grande do Sul

bDivision of Cardiology, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre

cNational Institute of Science and Technology for Health Technology Assessment (IATS) – CNPq, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Correspondence to Dra Leila Beltrami Moreira, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Ramiro Barcelos, 2350; sala 947, CEP: 90.035-903, Porto Alegre-RS, Brazil. Tel: +55 51 33597695; e-mail:

Abbreviations: BP, blood pressure; CI, confidence interval; CNPq, National Council for Scientific and Technological Development; FAPERGS, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Rio Grande do Sul; FIPE-HCPA, Fundo de Incentivo à Pesquisa – Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre; IBGE, Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics; IPAQ, International Physical Activity Questionnaire; NSAIDs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; SOFT, Syndrome of Obesity and Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease

Received 7 November, 2011

Revised 21 June, 2012

Accepted 24 July, 2012

Copyright © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.