"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Do you’ve got hypertension? Your partner might too

December 7, 2023 – It is feasible that doctor's offices will send out invitations for nightly blood pressure checks for couples. A brand new study shows that in nearly 4 out of ten heterosexual couples within the United States, each partners have hypertension.

The United States ranked second within the study of how common it's for couples to suffer from hypertension. The researchers also analyzed middle-aged and older couples in England, China and India. In total, the study included 3,989 US couples, 1,086 English couples, 6,514 Chinese couples and 22,389 Indian couples. The results were published Wednesday within the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The likelihood of each partners having hypertension was highest in England. China and India were well behind, with around two in 10 couples each affected by the condition, also often called hypertension. In all 4 countries, the likelihood of each members having hypertension was greater than the likelihood of a single member having it.

“Hypertension is more common in the US and England than in China and India, but the association between blood pressure status of couples was stronger in China and India than in the US and England. One reason could be cultural. “In China and India, there is a strong belief in sticking together as a family, allowing couples to have greater influence on each other's health,” said study co-lead creator Peiyi Lu, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in epidemiology on the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University said in a press release. “In collectivist societies in China and India, couples are expected to be emotionally and instrumentally dependent on and supportive of one another, so health may be more closely linked.”

The couples within the study were married for a mean of 30 years.

“Many people know that high blood pressure is common in middle-aged and older adults, but we were surprised to find that in many older couples in the United States, England, China and India, both husband and wife had high blood pressure.” Researcher Chihua Li, DrPH, a postdoctoral fellow on the University of Michigan, said in a opinion.

Among the participants within the study, the researchers selected couples wherein not less than one partner was not less than 45 years old. They were considered to have hypertension in the event that they had any of the next symptoms:

  • Systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or more;
  • Diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or more; or
  • A history of hypertension.

Those involved within the research only provided a single blood pressure reading for the study, which was seen as a limitation since not less than two readings are sometimes considered more accurate. This latest study was considered a step forward in understanding the common health problems shared by couples, because it was the primary study to look at hypertension in couples in multiple countries and included people outside a single region of a rustic.

The research approach to on the lookout for patterns of hypertension in couples relies on the general public health concept called “health concordance.” A Analysis 2007 found that couples often have similar physical and mental health problems, in addition to similar health behaviors akin to weight loss program, smoking and alcohol consumption.

The authors of this latest study suggest that behavioral similarities can have contributed to each partners having higher rates of hypertension.

“One explanation is that couples’ health behaviors converge over time,” they wrote. “According to social control theory, while wives may be more vulnerable to their husband's health status due to traditional caregiver roles, they may also actively attempt to change their husband's health behaviors.”

High blood pressure is a serious health problem within the United States, affecting nearly half of the country's adult population and causing or contributing to 691,095 deaths within the United States in 2021 CDC.

The recent findings suggest that recent approaches to diagnosing and treating hypertension could include couple-based approaches akin to joint examinations, skills training and couple-based treatment programs, the authors write.