Background: Early diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure (BP) and cholesterol is important to reduce cardiovascular risk. We compared BP and LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) as well as the quality of treatment between obese subjects and normal weight and overweight individuals.
Methods: 87,648 participants of the Lifelines study were categorised according to obesity (normal weight/ overweight/obesity) and age. Mean systolic BP and LDL-C were calculated depending on treatment, BMI, age and sex.
Results: In all age groups, except those aged 70-80 years, women had a significantly lower BP than men. Use of BP-lowering medication did not result in BP levels comparable with non-users, except in those aged 70-80 years. Despite medication, the BP was insufficiently controlled in 20-50% of participants. BP was significantly higher in obese vs. normal weight and overweight individuals of all ages, but most apparently in men younger than 50 years. Mean LDL-C varied between 2.5- .0 mmol/l. Despite higher statin use, obese participants had a higher LDL-C than those with a normal weight. Statins abolished the age-dependent LDL-C increase. Many participants did not achieve target LDL-C < 2.5 mmol/l. A small percentage of individuals treated with BP-lowering drugs were also using statins (overall 32% in men, 17% in women).
Conclusion: Obese individuals, especially men younger than 50, have a higher BP and LDL-C compared with those
with overweight and a normal weight. Use of BP-lowering drugs did not revert the BP back to levels normal for the specific age and BMI group, whereas statins abolished the age-related increase in LDL-C. These data suggest that more attention is needed for active screening and treatment of cardiovascular risk factors.