Science and Tech


If your spouse has high blood pressure you probably do too, study says

High blood pressure affects over 122 million people, nearly half of Americans aged 20 and older, and the majority don't know it.
A doctor using sphygmomanometer with stethoscope checking blood pressure to a patient.
Posted at 3:48 PM, Dec 07, 2023

Want to keep your blood pressure in check? It turns out that your marriage might be playing a sneaky role in those rising numbers!

Middle-aged and elderly heterosexual couples may face a higher risk of high blood pressure if one partner already has the condition, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study says that in China, England, India, and the United States, the data reveals that women married to men with high blood pressure were more likely to have hypertension, as were men married to wives with hypertension, highlighting a significant connection between spousal blood pressure and individual hypertension risks.

“Many people know that high blood pressure is common in middle-aged and older adults in the U.S., England, China, and India. But we were surprised to find out that in these countries, many older couples both have high blood pressure. For instance, in the U.S., more than 35% of couples who are 50 years or older both have hypertension,” Chihua Li, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan and an author of the study, told CNN. “Our study is the first one examining concordant hypertension within couples from both high- and middle-income countries using nationally representative data and therefore providing a cross-national comparison perspective,” Li said. “This is also the largest study on this topic to date.”

Researchers from the University of Michigan, Emory University, and Columbia University analyzed data from 1,086 couples in England, 3,989 couples in the United States, 6,514 couples in China, and 22,389 couples in India.

The prevalence of both partners having high blood pressure was highest among English couples at 47%, followed by nearly 38% of U.S. couples, 21% of Chinese couples, and 20% of Indian couples.

High blood pressure affects over 122 million people, nearly half of Americans aged 20 and older, and the majority are unaware of it, according to a 2023 report from the American Heart Association