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Renal Artery Calcium Increases Hypertension Risk

Risk is independent of cardiovascular disease risk factors

TUESDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- People free of cardiovascular disease who have calcium in their renal arteries, a marker of atherosclerotic plaque burden, have a 60 percent higher risk of hypertension, according to a report published online Oct. 1 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Matthew A. Allison, M.D., from the University of California at San Diego, and colleagues examined the association between renal artery calcium and hypertension in 1,435 subjects without clinical cardiovascular disease.

The researchers found that 17.1 percent of subjects overall had calcium in either renal artery, with a significantly higher prevalence in men. After adjusting for traditional coronary heart disease risk factors and extent of calcium in the systemic vasculature, the risk of hypertension was significantly higher in subjects with any renal artery calcium (odds ratio 1.61).

"The results of this study suggest that the presence of renal artery calcium is associated with higher odds for prevalent hypertension, independent of cardiovascular disease risk factors and the extent of calcified atherosclerosis in the nonrenal vasculature," Allison and colleagues conclude.

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