People, especially overweight or obese men, who have survived childhood cancer, are more than twice as likely to suffer from high blood pressure as adults.
Study author Todd M. Gibson from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee said that high blood pressure is an important modifiable risk factor that increases risk of heart problems in everyone. The research has shown that high blood pressure can have an even greater negative impact on survivors of childhood cancer, who were treated with cardiotoxic therapies such as anthracyclines or chest radiation, Gibson added.
Certain groups of survivors were the most likely to have hypertension: men; non-Hispanic blacks, older survivors, and those who were overweight or obese, the study showed. To assess the prevalence of high blood pressure among survivors of childhood cancer, the team examined 3,016 adults.
The results indicated that the participants were considered to have high blood pressure if their systolic blood pressure was 140 or greater, their diastolic blood pressure was 90 or greater, or if they had been previously diagnosed with hypertension and were taking antihypertensive medication.
The study showed that the prevalence of hypertension was 2.6 times higher among childhood cancer survivors than expected. The prevalence of hypertension increased over time – at age 30, 13 percent of the survivors had hypertension; at 40, 37 percent had hypertension, and by age 50, more than 70 percent of the survivors had hypertension.
Gibson said the prevalence of hypertension in cancer survivors matched rates in the general population of people about a decade older. The researchers explained that exposure to radiotherapy or chemotherapy were not significantly associated with hypertension. “The good news is that, unlike prior cancer therapy, high blood pressure is a modifiable risk factor,” Gibson noted.