Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



American Journal of Hypertension


Volume 27, Issue 3

Inclusive Pages




Hypertension often coexists with dyslipidemia, accentuating cardiovascular risk. Statins are often prescribed in hypertensive individuals to lower cardiovascular risk. Higher fitness is associated with lower mortality, but exercise capacity may be attenuated in hypertension. The combined effects of fitness and statin therapy in hypertensive individuals have not been assessed. Thus, we assessed the combined health benefits of fitness and statin therapy in hypertensive male subjects.


Peak exercise capacity was assessed in 10,202 hypertensive male subjects (mean age = 60.4±10.6 years) in 2 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. We established 4 fitness categories based on peak metabolic equivalents (METs) achieved and 8 categories based on fitness status and statin therapy.


During the follow-up period (median = 10.2 years), there were 2,991 deaths. Mortality risk was 34% lower (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.66; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.59–0.74; P < 0.001) among individuals treated with statins compared with those not on statins. The fitness-related mortality risk association was inverse and graded regardless of statin therapy status. Risk reduction associated with exercise capacity of 5.1–8.4 METs was similar to that observed with statin therapy. However, those achieving ≥8.5 METs had 52% lower risk (HR = 0.48; 95% CI = 0.37–0.63) when compared with the least-fit subjects (≤5 METs) on statin therapy.


The combination of statin therapy and higher fitness lowered mortality risk in hypertensive individuals more effectively than either alone. The risk reduction associated with moderate increases in fitness was similar to that achieved by statin therapy. Higher fitness was associated with 52% lower mortality risk when compared with the least fit subjects on statin therapy.


This work is written by U.S. Government employees and is in the public domain in the U.S.

Originally published in Oxford University Press, American Journal of Hypertension.

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