An increased visceral-subcutaneous adipose tissue ratio is associated with difficult-to-treat hypertension in men

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Jichi Medical University School of Medicine, Shimotsuke, Tochigi, Japan.
Journal of Hypertension (Impact Factor: 4.72). 06/2010; 28(6):1340-6. DOI: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e328338158b
Source: PubMed


Excess visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is considered to be a component in metabolic syndrome, an accumulation of cardiovascular risk factors that includes increased blood pressure; however, there are no previous data showing an association between increases in the VAT-subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) ratio and difficult-to-treat hypertension.
In 572 patients who had cardiovascular risk factors and who were under stable antihypertensive treatment, we evaluated whether the VAT-SAT ratio, as assessed by abdominal computed tomography, predicted difficult-to-treat hypertension, which we defined as an elevation of clinic blood pressure (i.e., clinic blood pressure >or=140/90 mmHg) during treatment with at least three antihypertensive drugs.
In men, an elevated VAT-SAT ratio [odds ratio (OR) 1.44 per 1 SD (0.52), 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08-1.92] and alcohol drinking habit (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.07-4.36) were significant predictors of difficult-to-treat hypertension, independently of the presence of metabolic syndrome or the insulin level. However, when we included diuretic use in the diagnosis of difficult-to-treat hypertension (i.e., resistant hypertension), the significance of the VAT-SAT ratio disappeared (P = 0.06), and a decreased estimated glomerular filtration rate (OR 0.74 per 10 ml/min per 1.73 m, 95% CI 0.58-0.94) and alcohol drinking habit (OR 4.31, 95% CI 1.74-10.68) were the significant predictors. In contrast, in women, the VAT-SAT ratio did not predict difficult-to-treat hypertension (P = 0.18).
An increased VAT-SAT ratio was associated with difficult-to-treat hypertension in men, but not with resistant hypertension, suggesting that diuretic use may partly affect the relationship between the VAT-SAT ratio and difficult-to-treat hypertension.

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    ABSTRACT: Our aim was to examine the association between heart rate (HR) and visceral obesity and abnormal fat distribution in patients undergoing treatment for hypertension. We also ascertained whether such associations differ depending on the time of day when HR is measured and the venue at which the measurement is carried out (office or home). The study enrolled a total of 390 patients (mean age 63.9 years; 45% men) receiving treatment with antihypertensive drugs other than β blockers or nondihydropyridine Ca-channel blockers. Office blood pressure (BP) and HR as well as home BP and HR, both morning and evening, were measured in all these patients for 14 days. The amount of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) were determined using abdominal computed tomography (CT). Evening HR was positively associated with VAT (r = 0.26) and negatively associated with SAT (r = -0.16); as a consequence, evening HR was closely associated with the VAT/SAT ratio (r = 0.30; all P < 0.01). In contrast, neither office nor morning HR was associated with VAT. The significant association between evening HR and VAT remained unchanged even after adjustment for significant covariates including SAT (P = 0.001). A multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that a 1-s.d. increase (10 beats per minute) in evening HR was significantly associated with visceral obesity (defined as VAT ≥100 cm)(2) (odds ratio (95% confidence interval: 1.7 (1.3-2.3)), P < 0.001), and that this association was independent of body mass index (BMI) and abdominal obesity (waist circumference ≥85 cm for men and ≥90 cm for women). In these patients receiving treatment for hypertension, high evening HR was associated with visceral obesity, independent of the presence of subcutaneous fat and BMI. This novel finding could explain why cardiovascular risk is higher in individuals with high HR.
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