Cardiovascular disease and hypertension : Population-based studies on self-rated health and health-related quality of life in Sweden

Abstract: The aim with this thesis was to study cardiovascular disease and hypertension, use of drugs and health from an epidemiological perspective. Various methods - self-rated health (SRH), health related quality of life (HRQL) - the 36-item short form questionnaire (SF-36) - and health utility measurements - the rating scale (RS) and the time-trade off (TTO) methods - were employed.Data from the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging (SATSA) in 1984, 1987, 1990, and 1993 as well as a general population survey conducted in Uppsala County in 1995 were used.Persons who have cardiovascular disease, both with and without drug treatment, were found to have a lower SRH as compared to others in the population. Longitudinal analyses showed that SRH was relatively stable over time among persons with cardiovascular disease. Both having a low SRH and having cardiovascular disease were associated with a higher mortality rate.Hypertensives were found to have a lower HRQL than do others in the general population as measured by the SF-36. The lowest scoring was found in the general health perception scale (GH), whereas role emotional (RE) and mental health (MH) were the scales least affected by hypertension.Nearly 20 percent of the antihypertensive drug users reported side effects.The pattern of side effects was similar to that reported in clinical trials. Both hypertension itself and the drug treatment were found to have an impact on the patient's health-state utility as measured by the RS. Comparative analyses showed that health utilities and psychometric quality-of-life instruments were only moderately correlated among hypertensives. The results also showed that inequalities in HRQL were present with respect to several sociodemographic factors. In summary, this thesis revealed that persons with cardiovascular disease and/or with hypertension experience poorer health than others in the population. The poor health may be caused both by the disease and/or the drug treatment. The results in this thesis also suggested that special attention and care should be directed to persons with cardiovascular disease and/or hypertension reporting ill health. This especially is important given that low HRQL can be a riskfactor for subsequent cardiovascular events or complications which in turn might result in higher mortality rate.