Inflammation plays a key role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases via the development of atherosclerosis. Here, we evaluated the impact of serum C-reactive protein (CRP) and the white blood cell (WBC) count on the risk of hypertension in middle-aged Japanese men at a work site. We evaluated a total of 2991 Japanese male workers without hypertension who ranged in age from 18 to 64 years (mean age 40.4 ± 0.2 years) at a worksite in 2010. The hazard ratio (HR) for incident hypertension was estimated according to quartile levels of serum high-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) or WBC count. These men were followed up for 5 years from 2010 to 2015. During the follow-up period, 579 (19.4%) subjects developed hypertension. In a multivariable analysis, the risk of incident hypertension was significantly increased with higher hs-CRP levels: HR 1.00 (reference) for the lowest quartile, 1.39 (1.04-1.85) for the 2nd quartile, 1.46 (1.08-1.98) for the 3rd quartile, and 1.57 (1.17-2.11) for the highest quartile. In contrast, the WBC count was not associated with a greater risk of incident hypertension after multivariable adjustment. These findings suggest that higher levels of serum hs-CRP, but not the WBC count, are associated with the future incidence of hypertension in middle-aged Japanese men.
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