Clinical research study| Volume 121, ISSUE 9, P811-819, September 2008

Sex Differences in Environmental and Genetic Factors for Hypertension



      Sex differences are observed in many aspects of mammalian cardiovascular function and pathology. Hypertension is more common in men than in women of the same age. Although the effects of gonadal hormones on blood pressure are considered contributing factors, the reasons for sex differences in hypertension are still not fully understood. The present study was undertaken to compare the differences in several environmental and genetic factors beween men and women in the Hei Yi Zhuang, an isolated subgroup of the Zhuang minority in China.


      Information on demography, diet, and lifestyle was collected in 835 women and 834 men aged 15 to 84 years. Genotyping of angiotensin-converting enzyme, adrenergic receptor β3, aldehyde dehydrogenase 2, calpastatin, connexin 37, hepatic lipase, lipoprotein lipase, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ, thyrotropin-releasing hormone receptor, and von Willebrand factor also was performed in these subjects.


      The levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and the prevalence, awareness, and treatment of hypertension were lower in women than in men (P < .05). Hypertension was positively associated with age, physical activity, alcohol consumption, body mass index, waist circumference, hyperlipidemia, total energy, total fat, sodium intake, and sodium/potassium ratio, and negatively associated with education level, total dietary fiber, potassium intake, angiotensin-converting enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase 2, and hepatic lipase genotypes in men (P < .05). Hypertension was positively associated with age, hyperlipidemia, total energy, total fat, sodium intake, sodium/potassium ratio, calpastatin, and von Willebrand factor genotypes, and negatively associated with education level, total dietary fiber, potassium, calcium intake, lipoprotein lipase, and thyrotropin-releasing hormone receptor genotypes in women (P < .05).


      Sex differences in the prevalence of hypertension in the Hei Yi Zhuang population may be mainly attributed to the differences in dietary habits, lifestyle choices, sodium and potassium intakes, physical activity level, and some genetic polymorphisms.


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