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Hypertension increases glaucoma risk

Hypertensive people are at an increased risk of suffering from glaucoma, a condition in which the pressure within the eye increases.

Hypertension increases glaucoma risk

People with hypertension (high blood pressure) are at an increased risk of suffering from glaucoma, a condition in which the pressure within the eye increases. Researchers from the University of Birmingham, UK conducted a study involving more that 27,000 people with glaucoma. They found that, glaucoma was significantly more common in those with hypertension. Recent study suggests that hypertension is characterized by increased sodium retention. This in turn, may increase pressure in the eye, a factor in glaucoma. To determine whether there might be a relationship between hypertension and glaucoma, the researchers studied data from 27,080 patients with glaucoma and a like number of subjects of the same sex and age without glaucoma. Hypertension was significantly more common in glaucoma patients (29 percent) than in controls. The researchers also found that hypertension treatment with beta-blocker drugs reduced the risk of a subsequent glaucoma diagnosis by 23 percent. This was not the case for those who were treated with other types of antihypertensive drugs. An increase risk of glaucoma was seen in patients treated with calcium channel antagonist drugs (34 percent), angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor drugs (16 percent) and steroids (78 percent). The team concluded that hypertension and glaucoma are associated and that common mechanisms related to sodium handling are responsible for this. Antihypertension treatment with steroids and beta-blockers appear to have important and opposite effects on glaucoma risk. The findings suggest possible simple ways to prevent glaucoma if at-risk groups can be adequately defined.
British Journal Ophthalmology,
August 2005
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