The high incidence of hypertension among hemophilia patients may not be associated with common cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, cholesterol and smoking, according to a new study. The researchers call for more studies to uncover possible links between hypertension and hemophilia.
Hypertension increases the risk of intracranial bleeding, a serious condition that affects hemophilia patients more frequently than the general population. However, the link between hypertension and hemophilia remains elusive.
“Hypertension in the general population is associated with age, (obesity), cholesterol, kidney function, diabetes, smoking, HCV, and race,” the authors wrote. “If hypertension is more prevalent among (hemophilia patients) than the general population, then it is reasonable to assume that one or more risk factors must be higher in (hemophilia patients) than among the general population.”
Researchers retrospectively analyzed medical data from 469 U.S. hemophilia patients (men 18 years or older and with different ethnicities). Data included information on age, ethnicity, hemophilia type and severity, positive tests for hepatitis C (HCV) or HIV, medication history, and smoking status. The team also analyzed blood samples from these patients, collected during regular clinic visits, to check for diabetes, blood glucose and levels of creatinine. They also evaluated kidney function and blood pressure.
Results obtained were then compared to those of men who had been included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a series of surveys carried out to evaluate the health status of the nation. Comparisons were made between age- and race-matched individuals.
The analysis indicated that the median systolic and diastolic blood pressure was higher in hemophilia patients than in men from NHANES who had not been on hypertension medication, but similar to that of men who took anti-hypertensives. These differences were marked particularly among adults older than 30 year.
However, researchers found no link between hypertension and cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, kidney function, cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, Hepatitis C and race.
“This study demonstrates that (hemophilia patients) suffer from higher (blood pressure) levels than the general male population at all ages, whether or not they are treated for hypertension,” the authors concluded. “Further, their elevated BP levels cannot be easily explained by the usual cardiovascular risk factors.”
“New studies will be required to unravel the interrelations of vascular abnormalities, (blood pressure), and age of onset of hypertension among (hemophilia patients),” the authors added.