MONDAY, Sept. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Higher urinary stress hormone levels are associated with an increased risk for incident hypertension among adults free from hypertension, according to a study published online Sept. 13 in Hypertension.

Kosuke Inoue, M.D., Ph.D., from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study involving 412 adults age 48 to 87 years free of hypertension from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis with measurements of urinary stress hormones. The adjusted hazard ratio of incident hypertension and cardiovascular events was estimated according to urinary stress hormone levels.

The researchers found that the risk for incident hypertension was increased per doubling of norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine, and cortisol (adjusted hazard ratios [95 percent confidence intervals], 1.31 [1.06 to 1.61], 1.21 [1.03 to 1.41], 1.28 [1.00 to 1.64], and 1.23 [1.04 to 1.44], respectively) during a median follow-up of 6.5 years. In general, these associations were stronger among participants younger than 60 years versus 60 years or older, especially for dopamine and cortisol. The risk for incident cardiovascular events was increased per doubling of cortisol (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.90; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.06 to 3.09), but not for catecholamines, during a median follow-up of 11.2 years.

“The next key research question is whether and in which populations increased testing of stress hormones could be helpful. Currently, these hormones are measured only when hypertension with an underlying cause or other related diseases are suspected,” Inoue said in a statement. “However, if additional screening could help prevent hypertension and cardiovascular events, we may want to measure these hormone levels more frequently.”

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